Lt. Deric Dunn, 48, was named commander of the Carroll Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol this February.
Dunn joined the Squadron in September 2015 serving as the Squadron Chaplain. In 2017, at the request of former commander Lt. Carol Scanlan, he became Deputy Commander for Senior Officers. Among other qualifications, he is a qualified search and rescue ground team leader and an aircrew scanner. Last year, he was one of the leaders deployed to North Carolina for hurricane relief.
The Times caught up with Dunn, who, as commander, looks to fully support the mission of CAP which includes Aerospace Education, Emergency Services, and Cadet Programs.
Q: What does the Civil Air Patrol mean to you and why is it important to Carroll County?
A: The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is an amazing program for both adults and youth starting at age 12. It is a laboratory for us to learn leadership and soft skills that are necessary for success, in all aspects of life, while preparing to respond to missions ordered by the Air Force or civic leaders. We are the Auxiliary of the US Air Force and prepare to support America's communities with emergency response, diverse aviation and ground services, youth development, and promotion of air, space and cyber power. CAP’s 60,000 volunteer members selflessly devote their time, energy and expertise toward the well-being of their communities, while also promoting aviation and related fields through aerospace education and helping shape future leaders through CAP’s cadet program.
To me, CAP is an opportunity to explore Aerospace and STEM pursuits with some of the most dedicated and amazing people in the area. It is a family made up of individuals from very diverse backgrounds and careers who all bring strength to the organization and their respective squadrons. My son Jeremy and I joined the Carroll Composite Squadron over three years ago and we have had many adventures that are not readily available outside of CAP. For example, Jeremy flew a glider for the first time when he was 12 years old. We are both Qualified Search and Rescue Ground Team members, and I am qualified for Aircrew operations. In one word, CAP means adventure.
We continually prepare and stand ready to assist Carroll County in emergency situations while focusing on the leadership development of youth who form a unique bond with other cadets. In 2018, our Squadron responded to six emergency response requests from across Maryland and seven of our members were deployed to Wilmington, North Carolina within hours after Hurricane Florence had passed. Already in this fiscal year CAP has been credited by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center with 56 total lives saved across the country.
Unfortunately the Civil Air Patrol is one of Carroll County’s best kept secrets, but it shouldn’t be. It is open to anyone who meets membership qualifications and is ready for an adventure.
Q: What inspired you to join the Carroll Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, and most recently, to lead it?
A: My first encounter with CAP was as a youth. I attended two meetings and was hooked but couldn’t join because the nearest squadron was over 90 minutes away. Three years ago I was reading the community calendar of the Carroll County Times and saw an entry for the Carroll Composite Squadron meetings. My son had recently turned 12 and so we decided to attend a meeting. We were impressed with the cadets and officers and joined three meetings later. We haven’t ever looked back and have been amazed at the experience we have been able to participate in.
It is an immense honor to have the opportunity to lead the women and men of the Carroll Composite Squadron and I am humbled by the trust that is placed in me. I have had the benefit of the example and mentorship of previous commanders and was able to assist them in meeting their goals and objectives. Because of my great respect for our team it was an easy choice to step up to the challenge of command.
Q: What is the most important thing you learned from the former commander, Lt. Carol Scanlan, that you hope to take with you in your leadership of the squadron?
A: Every squadron commander sets their own precedent for others to follow. Lt. Carol Scanlan was no exception. To her, the smallest detail should never be overlooked or disregarded as they are just as important as large scale items and if gone unchecked can combine to create disastrous results.
Lt. Scanlan served with honor and I am grateful for her example and leadership.
A: I am extremely excited about the prospect of reaching more people by growing the squadron programs, witnessing the development of youth leaders, and extending the reach of CAP’s STEM and Aerospace programs to more of the community. I plan to build a team that can collaborate with and support our local schools and students by providing STEM capabilities and aeronautical experiences. I will also be working toward strengthening our capabilities for search and rescue and emergency response both on the ground and in the air.
Q: Who are you looking for to volunteer with the Civil Air Patrol, and how can people get involved?
A: The Squadron’s Cadet Commander, C/Capt. Laura Midkiff, is dedicated to growing and sustaining the cadet program. Our shared goal is to triple the current number of cadets within the next year, which would provide a force of over 90 cadets.
To meet these goals we need the help of like-minded volunteers that are dedicated to our missions and support of the community. We are in need of adult members who can bring their diverse life experiences to benefit the Squadron and we have positions available ranging from administration to medical specialists. We are also seeking volunteers to support our local schools as liaisons for our aerospace, STEM, and cyber programs who are available during regular school hours. Interested candidates must successfully pass an FBI background check and have an interview with the membership review board.
CAP is a paramilitary organization and the Auxiliary to the United States Air Force but it is not a recruiting arm of the military. Although our efforts and training will support youth that are planning a military career, there is no requirement or pressure to become a member of the Armed Services.
The Carroll Composite Squadron functions through fundraisers and the support of people throughout the community interested in donating their time or resources. If you are interested in joining or donating to our cause please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 443-508-8017.