2009-10-08 / Front Page

Pineland Civil Air Patrol gets new commander

LAKEWOOD — Recently selected by Civil Air Patrol (CAP) national headquarters as the New Jersey Wing Squadron of Merit for 2009, the Pineland Composite Squadron based at the Lakewood Airport changed commanders in a special ceremony recently.

More than 40 CAP members from New Jersey Wing, Group 224 and the squadron officers and cadets plus 20 family members attended. Also attending was the New Jersey Wing Commander, Col. Robert Mc- Cabe, a resident of Cherry Hill, and officiating was Group 224 Commander Ronald Wiley, a resident of Freehold.

For the last several years, under the command of Lt. Col. Steven Tracy, a resident of Jackson, the unit played an important role in training local teens 12 to 18 years of age in aerospace education, moral leadership, physical fitness, personal leadership and discipline, and emergency services and disaster preparedness support, among other disciplines.

Tracy also trained senior officers in military and personal leadership, ground search and rescue, and flight operations.

Serving as commander during two separate periods, he led the unit to both of its Squadron of Merit Awards for 1999 and 2009. Currently, Tracy serves as director of operational training for New Jersey Wing Headquarters at McGuire Air Force Base, Wrightstown.

His previous duties for New Jersey Wing included stints as public affairs officer, administrative officer and emergency services officer.

Lt. Eric Cohen, a resident of Asbury Park, will be the new commander. Cohen previously served as the deputy commander for seniors and was a member of Group 224 staff. Cohen has completed many CAP and Federal Emergency Management Agency senior management programs.

Cohen is the recipient of the 2009 Commanders Commendation Award for Outstanding Duty Performance for the 2008 Air Expo at McGuire Air Force Base, where he served as the executive officer.

He also serves CAP as an Air Operations Branch director, mission observer, mission scanner, ground branch director, ground team leader, flight line marshaller and Planning Section chief (T).

Cohen served on the New Jersey Wing Incident Command Staff at the recent 2009 Northeast Region Search and Rescue Competition at Andover Air Force Base in Massachusetts. He also served as the Air Operations Branch director for the 2009 U.S. Air Force Search and Rescue Evaluation and as the ground branch director for the 2008 U.S. Air Force Rated SAREX. Cohen has two "Mission Find" awards.

Cohen, an accomplished architect, planner and urban designer, has more than 32 years of experience in project design. He is the founding member and senior principal of E.A. Cohen Architecture LLC.

A nonprofit organization with more than 55,000 members nationwide, CAP officers play a leading role serving as mentors to more than 25,000 young people currently participating in the CAP Cadet Program, according to a press release.

New Jersey CAP pilots are continuously poised to fly missions for the U.S. Air Force, Department of Homeland Security, Red Cross Disaster Operations and the New Jersey State Police Office of Emergency Management.

Teenagers and adults who are interested in serving with the Civil Air Patrol can log on to www.njwg.cap.gov, which provides New Jersey group and squadron meeting locations. For information about Pineland Squadron Activities, contact Lt. Eric Cohen at eric.cohen@njwg.cap.gov, or for general information about CAP teen and adult programs contact Capt. Marvin A. Goldberg, Group 224 public affairs officer, at goldmsigma@ optonline.net.

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