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February 2020 - Notes from the Commander

Challenges or Opportunities?


Adriaan Groenewald on Twitter: "Such a great quote “@InspiringThinkn: Mountaintops  inspire leaders but valleys mature them. Winston Churchill #quote”"

“Mountaintops inspire leaders, but valleys mature them.”   - Winston Churchill 


As we enter a twelfth month of reduced in-person activity due to the continued impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, there is no question that we have all felt the impact of challenges that we did not ask for, but which have come nonetheless.  Our businesses have been changed, slowed, or shuttered; Schools have suspended local classes; jobs have been lost; friends or family have may have taken ill or worse.  All this comes at a time when the nation seems more divided than at any time in recent history.  Disagreement about the direction and leadership of our great nation have set neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother, and parent against child.  

As patriotic citizens and proud members of YOUR Civil Air Patrol, it is incumbent upon us all to acknowledge the challenges that we have faced, and will continue to face as we move forward into 2021.  I am so proud of the commitment our members have made to persevere in service to Community, State and Nation.  Over the last twelve months, Squadron 712 members have participated in the PA Wing Food Distribution efforts, production and delivery of PPE, innovation in development and delivery of specialized training, pursuit of and attainment of Professional Development milestones, and growth and achievement in Cadet Life, including 53 Cadet Achievements including two Wright Brothers Awards and FIVE Billy Mitchell Awards!  Fifteen of our fellow Airmen received the Disaster Relief Ribbon with "V" device in recognition of their service to the Commonwealth during the Presidentially declared Disaster operations.  You have truly shown that you possess the heart of a volunteer and the spirit of the Wolfpack, and I salute you!

What is it that makes some excel when challenges arrive, and also makes others despair?  The answer is MINDSET.  Hardships and troubles are constants in life, they are either here now or will be here tomorrow.  The best and strongest among us are those who look at the challenges as opportunities to learn, to grow, and to serve.  Cadets - many of you are doing excellent work with your cadet achievements.  If you have kept up with your promotions during the past year, bravo!  Some of you have promoted at least once - keep up the good work and push yourselves more!  If you have not advanced during this year, if you have found yourself stagnating, recognize that the only thing holding you back is your own motivation and effort.  I challenge each and every one of us to take responsibility for our growth and development, and strive to be a little better every single day.

Remember, when we are ready to take off, we accelerate INTO the wind.  Take the opportunity to accelerate your growth and personal development to the next level this year.  Ask how you can grow as a follower and as a leader.  Log into eServices and take that AE exam, or complete an Education & Training Module.  Be a mentor, or seek out a mentor.  Determine that nothing will hold you back this year.  I will be honored to recognize and be a part of your journey.



David Harrison, 1st Lt CAP

Commander Squadron 712

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