Vermillion resident Major Teresa Schimelfening will accept command of Civil Air Patrol's (CAP) South Dakota Wing (SDWG) at the Wing's 2010 Conference January 23rd. She will take the reins from Colonel Mike Beason of Rapid City, who has held the wing commander position for four years and six months. Upon assuming command Major Schimelfening will be promoted to Colonel which is temporary until completion of her four year term as wing commander.
Joining Civil Air Patrol in February 2004 with the Lewis and Clark Composite Squadron based in Yankton, starting out as the unit's personnel officer, she took command of the unit six months later and commanded the squadron from September 2004 to April 2008. While still squadron commander she also served as Deputy Commander for CAP's North Central Region's 2007 Cadet Leadership Encampment and appointed Director of Logistics for SDWG in October 2007, the position she currently holds.
This past year, SDWG's 2009 Officer of the Year Award and North Central Region's 2009 Senior Officer of the Year Award were presented to Major Schimelfening. She was also one of eight nominated for the Senior Officer of the Year Award at the national level. Her awards also include the Meritorious Service Award, Commander's Commendation Award, Command Service Ribbon, and others. Major Schimelfening holds Master Ratings in CAP's Cadet Programs and Logistics specialties, and a Technician rating in the Personnel specialty track. She also holds various qualifications in CAP's Emergency Services.
Major Schimelfening is a U.S. Army veteran who served on active duty from May 1976 until February 1985 beginning her service in the Women's Army Corps. Her military specialties were first a food service specialist then an Air Traffic Control RADAR specialist upon her second enlistment. Her various assignments included the U.S. Army Aviation School and Center at Ft. Rucker, Alabama; a tour with the 240th Air Traffic Control Company, at Grafenwoehr, Germany; and others at Fort Benning, GA, Fort Belvoir, VA, and Fort Dix, NJ. Her military awards include the Army Commendation and Army Achievement Medals, Army Service Ribbon, and Good Conduct Medals. She is a graduate of the Non-Commissioned Officers Academy in Bad Toelz, Germany. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with a minor in Business Administration and extensive coursework in Resources Management.
Major Schimelfening is a former employee of USD until retired due to a disability and is the wife of James Schimelfening, (U.S. Army Retired) who is a 911 Telecommunicator with the Clay Area Emergency Services Communication Center in Vermillion and also a senior officer in CAP. They have two sons; Adam of Vermillion who is a full time student with Western Iowa Tech and Benjamin who is a senior at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Major Schimelfening is looking forward to the challenge of taking command of the Wing's 360 plus membership and CAP's missions of Emergency Services, Cadet Programs and Aerospace Education. She is committed to continuing the wing's efforts of reaching out to city, county, state, and national agencies across the state of South Dakota as a valuable resource of choice for emergency services. She also desires to extend a hand to youth organizations and schools across the state to expand our youths' opportunities in leadership and aerospace education.
Civil Air Patrol was founded December 1, 1941 just days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. CAP was chartered by Congress to perform three missions for America; Emergency Services, Cadet Programs, and Aerospace Education to the organizations membership and public. CAP became the official civilian Auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force in 1948.
CAP performs 90 percent of inland search and rescue operations saving lives nationwide. This past year South Dakota Wing members volunteered their skills and hours to help out during the spring flooding in both North and South Dakota. The wing extensively uses aerial photography providing government agencies with disaster assessment unmatched by any other civilian agency. Although CAP's membership is almost entirely volunteers from local units up to its National Commander they are professionals. They are constantly training throughout the year to assist in emergency operations.
The Cadet Program provides youth, ages 12-21 the opportunity to serve their communities and state, learn about general aviation through flight training and field trips, and to gain leadership skills as they progress through the ranks with ever increasing responsibilities and challenges. CAP also has scholarships, regional, national, and international opportunities for cadets and adults. CAP is always looking for and needs adults, who may want to work with youth, serve their community, state and nation through emergency services and aerospace education. It is not necessary to be a pilot, or even like flying. There are many opportunities for those who just want to make a difference.
The Aerospace Education Program provides opportunities for youth to receive hands on training in both powered and glider aircraft including a model rocketry program. Cadets have opportunities to pass on their knowledge of aerospace to their communities.
Civil Air Patrol is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. More information on CAP can be found by going to the following Web sites: www.sdcap.us, www.ncr.cap.gov, or www.gocivilairpatrol.gov.