New CAP commander

First female officer in 76-year history

By Marguerite Cleveland on April 19, 2018

On April 14, at the Red Lion Inn and Conference Center in Wenatchee, Lt. Col. Shelly Norman assumed command as the new Wing Commander for the Washington Civil Air Patrol (CAP). She was also promoted to colonel and is the first female commander in the 76-year history of the CAP and she is the first female officer to reach the rank of colonel. The officiant for the change of command was Col. Tom Hahn, CAP, Pacific Region Vice Commander. Norman took command from Col. James Furlong who held the position for four years. 

"I am honored to be chosen as the first female Wing Commander in Washington State history. As we put our plans in place for Washington Wing over the next four years, we will focus on training so we are better prepared to respond to the needs of our state and communities," said Norman.

The CAP is the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary and is comprised of adult and youth cadets who volunteer their time. The patrol supports local agencies, assists with disaster relief and participates in search and rescue. The CAP is the official civilian Auxiliary of the United States Air Force with a rich history of valuable volunteer community service to Washington. It was founded in December 1942 just a few days before Pearl Harbor. All CAP members are volunteers and must pay a membership fee. The patrol is closely affiliated with the U.S. Air Force and receives training and the use of airplanes and vehicles to carry out CAP missions. The CAP National Headquarters is located at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. When tasked to perform a search mission or disaster relief mission, the CAP falls under 1st Air Force, at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.

Special guests attending included Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, Civil Air Patrol National Commander, Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, Alabama; Col. Jon Stokes, Pacific Region CAP Commander, San Diego, California; Lt Col. Kevin Cummings, CAP-USAF Pacific Liaison Region Commander, Beale AFB, California; Col. James Furlong, Washington Wing CAP Commander, Gig Harbor, and over 250 registered volunteer cadet and adult Civil Air Patrol members.