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Maj. Jim Mathews Relinquishes Command of Prince William Composite Squadron

posted Mar 26, 2017, 4:31 PM by   [ updated Oct 22, 2017, 10:00 PM by Kmberly C. Frady ]

After a highly successful four-year term, Maj. Jim "Speedy" Mathews relinquished command of the Prince William Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol (CAP), Virginia Wing, to Lt. Col. Timothy "Doodah" Day on Tuesday, February 21, 2017. Group Three Commander Maj. Nelson Alcalde presided over the ceremony with the Prince William Composite Squadron cadets, seniors, and guests in attendance. The change of command is a time-honored ceremony designed to mark the occasion when the responsibility of command is passed to the incoming Commander. It is one of the most formal ceremonies conducted. The change of command signifies passing of designated leadership from one person to another while authority of command remains constant.

Maj. Mathews served as Commander since 2013. In his 4-year term, Maj. Mathews saw the squadron grow to 163 members, earned a Unit Citation Award in 2016, and recognized as Virginia Wing's Squadron of the Year in 2015. Additionally, Prince William Composite Squadron earned the Quality Cadet Unit Award for excellence in cadet programs for all four years.

Lt. Col. Day assumed the command at the end of Maj. Mathews term.  During the ceremony, Maj. Mathews received Civil Air Patrol's Meritorious Service Award for his leadership and service.

Maj. Mathews was key to Civil Air Patrol fundraising activities in the area. He registered the squadron in the local Combined Federal Campaign fundraiser (CFC). The CFC represents the world's largest workplace charity campaigns with nearly 200 campaigns throughout the globe. Maj. Mathews went on to aid other squadrons in developing their CFC packages to help them generate more budgetary funds. His work led him to become the CAP National CFC coordinator in 2015.

During Maj. Mathews' command tour, the squadron maintained responsibility over the Group Three radio network. The radio network provides for communications continuity in the event our community's cellular and internet connections were ever disabled.

In his address to the crowd, Lt. Col. Day thanked Maj. Mathews for his leadership and role as a mentor:

“Your leadership, your example, your friendship, and your mentoring 
have meant more to me than I can express. Thank you.”

Lt.Col. Day

Maj. Mathews earned a variety of ratings and qualifications in his tenure, including: Airborne Photographer (AP), Mission Observer (MO), Mission Scanner (MS), and Mission Radio Operator (MRO). Maj. Mathews now serves as the Deputy Commander of Group Three under Maj. Nelson Alcalde.

Lt. Col. Day first joined Civil Air Patrol in the early 1980's, when he served as a cadet member of the Beverly Composite Squadron, Massachusetts Wing. After taking 24 years off while he devoted himself to his Navy career, Lt. Col. Day re-joined in 2012. As a former Naval Aviator, he proudly wears the uniform of Civil Air Patrol once again.

Click here to view more photos of the Change of Command on our Flickr site captured by Capt. David Harback.

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force, which consists of regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees. CAP, in its Total Force role, operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 78 lives annually. Civil Air Patrol’s 56,000 members nationwide also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Its members additionally play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program. Performing missions for America for the past 75 years, CAP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit for more information.