With these words, command of the Tennessee Wing of the Civil Air Patrol recently passed from Col. Barry Melton of Cleveland to Col. Bill Lane of Gray during a Nashville ceremony.
Southeast Region Commander Col. James Rushing presided.
During the banquet preceding the Change of Command event, the keynote speaker was retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. James Bassham, director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. Civil Air Patrol has a memorandum of understanding with TEMA and has performed many missions at its request.
“I want you to know that we (TEMA) greatly appreciate the service that Civil Air Patrol provides us and you are always welcome in our house,” Bassham told the group in his address.
He reminded those present about duties and responsibilities, especially in the area of professional qualifications.
“When you gain that badge you have a responsibility to stay current and proficient in that specialty, whatever it may be,” he stressed.
As Bassham closed his remarks, he called Melton to the podium and presented him with a TEMA challenge coin in recognition of the services provided to his organization and the state of Tennessee.
During his comments, Melton spoke of the wing’s commitment to service and of the outstanding performance of wing members.
“We are a service-based organization that trains to serve and then we as leaders train others to serve,” Melton said. “This wing has always stepped forward in times of need.”
He also noted the presence of Civil Air Patrol in the state and the importance of the squadron commanders.
“Your leadership is the first thing noticed and the last thing remembered,” Melton pointed out.
Not only did Bassham acknowledge the outgoing commander’s leadership over the past four years, Melton also received the CAP Distinguished Service Award and a citation detailing his accomplishments during his command. Additionally, a Joint Proclamation by the Tennessee House of Representatives and Senate, sponsored by State Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, and State Sen. Mike Bell, R-Athens, recognized the outgoing commander’s leadership.
Lane will continue to lead the wing in the path set by his predecessor and will also maintain high expectations for his command. In his first address to the wing, Lane said he expects the high level of mission readiness and performance to continue. In addition, the new wing commander stressed he wants members to continue to progress in professional development and qualifications but to still enjoy the challenges these commitments bring.
“Do it right, but have fun,” he said to the 100 wing leaders gathered for the event.
The concluding remarks of the outgoing wing commander served as a poignant reminder of why men and women serve in the Civil Air Patrol.
“We do this thing called Civil Air Patrol so that others may live, so that others may grow and so that others may succeed,” Melton said.