By: 1st Lt. Bryan Weil
NCWG /NC048 PAO
7/17/2014–RALEIGH, NC–During a trip from Maxwell Air Force Base (AFB) to Richmond, Virginia, Brig.Gen Joe Vazquez stopped over at RDU’s General Aviation Terminal for a meeting with Col. Larry Ragland, the Middle East Region (MER) Commander. Gen. Vazquez, who is the next National Commander for Civil Air Patrol, is to take command during the Civil Air Patrol’s National Conference in Las Vegas in August.
Gen. Vazquez, along with Col. Rick Mosley, the Middle East region vice commander, was at Maxwell AFB to pick up the region’s latest aircraft acquisition, a Cessna T206H. Vazquez, a seasoned pilot with over 3400 flying hours and certifications in both single and multi-engine commercial as well being as FAA commercial rated glider instructor pilot, says that although he is very busy with his current position as Vice Commander, he flys about 180hrs a minimum annually to keep current.
Vazquez stated he was excited to be bringing the 206 to this region because it greatly increases the region’s ability to support the United States Air Force (USAF) in its missions. Vazquez stated “this is the first 206 east of the Mississippi, and we feel that with the 206’s high altitude capability (service altitude is 27,000 feet) as well as its ability to fly long distances (range is 730nmi), we can offer the USAF a low cost alternative for specific types of critical missions that until now we have been lacking.” Cessna describes the 206 as “the sport-utility vehicle of the air” with its ability to carry 5 passengers and 1 pilot economically.
On hand today to meet the general and see the new aircraft, in addition to the MER Commander, Col. Ragland, were, the squadron commander of Raleigh Wake Squadron, Maj. Rich Laviano; Capt. Don Williams, and 1st. Lt. Bryan Weil. Col. Ragland is slated to become the general’s chief of staff when he takes command later this summer.
Maj. Laviano presented the general with a squadron coin commemorating today’s visit. Laviano observed “this plane will be a great asset for the region, and I am looking forward to getting my time in this plane, having the opportunity to meet the general today, and spend a few minutes with him today was a an unexpected bonus.”