Thunder Mountain Composite Squadron's Cadet change of command ceremony was held Sept. 13 at the National Guard Readiness Center in Grand Junction, with Lt. Col. Peterson serving as master of ceremonies. During the ceremony, Cadet Commander 2d Lt. Javan Yeager (C/CMSgt Echols standing in) relinquished command of the cadets to the incoming Cadet Commander C/1st Lt. Ezra Russell of Paonia.
C/1st Lt. Russell was appointed as cadet commander by Capt. Kirk Gustafson, who serves as the unit commander. C/1st Lt. Russell was mentored and trained under the leadership of Cadet Commander C/2d Lt. Yeager. The cadet commander is the highest leadership role for a cadet.
C/1st Lt. Russell is a commendable member of TMCS since joining 2 1⁄2 years ago. During his time at TMCS, he has held the positions of element leader, flight sergeant, flight commander, Color Guard commander and lead rifleman, Echo flight sergeant for the 2015 Blackbird Encampment, Foxtrot flight commander for the 2016 Phantom Encampment, safety officer and interim cadet commander. C/1st Lt. Russell was also awarded the AFA Squadron Cadet of the Year Award. This summer Russell graduated from NCR Powered Flight Academy in Fremont, Neb., earning his solo wings. He continues taking private pilot lessons, and he aspires to attend the Air Force Academy to become a fighter pilot for the United States Air Force.
Thunder Mountain Composite Squadron meets at the Grand Junction Regional Airport every Tuesday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. They also have a group that meets in Delta at the Delta Middle School every Monday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. For more information on the Civil Air Patrol please visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com.