Civil Air Patrol


General Session and Awards Banquet Speaker

Brigadier General Edward D. Phelka

Edward D. Phelka is the National Vice Commander of Civil Air Patrol. His primary duty is to assist the CAP National Commander in leading CAP’s 57,000 volunteers in fulfillment of the nonprofit organization’s three congressionally chartered missions of Emergency Services, Cadet Programs and Aerospace Education, as well as its steadily increasing role in America’s Homeland Security as the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force.

As National Vice Commander, General Phelka serves as a Brigadier General (one-star). He is also a member of both the CAP Command Council and CAP Senior Advisory Group (CSAG), advising the National Commander and the Board of Governors on CAP operational and policy issues.

General Phelka was named National Vice Commander on August 8, 2017, and assumed his role Sept. 2 at CAP’s 2017 National Conference. Prior to his appointment, General Phelka served as Commander of CAP’s Great Lakes Region, beginning in March 2015. He was responsible for leading the region’s six wings, including his home state of Michigan. Prior to that, he served as National Controller — the principal adviser to the National Commander and CSAG on financial accountability and logistics. He held that role from August 2011-January 2015 after commanding the Colorado Wing from December 2007-April 2011.

A resident of the Greater Detroit area, General Phelka joined Civil Air Patrol as a Michigan Wing cadet in 1987, earning the General Carl A. Spaatz Award in 1993. Following transition to senior membership in CAP, his assignments included three years as Commander of Michigan Wing’s Livonia Thunderbolt Cadet Squadron and two years as Commander of the Southeast Michigan Group, Director of Cadet Programs in both the Michigan and Colorado wings, and Chief of Staff for the Colorado Wing.

General Phelka earned his private pilot license in 1998 and is a commercial, multi-engine and instrument-rated Certified Flight Instructor, CAP Cadet Orientation Pilot and CAP Check Pilot Examiner with over 1,600 flying hours. Outside of CAP, he spent 15 years in leadership roles within the airline and software industries, and currently works as a Certified Flight Instructor and Corporate Pilot.

General Phelka holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, with major fields of study in economics and the German language.

He and his wife, Dr. Amanda Phelka, have two children, Daniel and Katie.


General Session Speakers


Col Thomas R. Kettell is the commander of Civil Air Patrol’s Rocky Mountain Region. He is responsible for the command and administration of more than 3,500 volunteers, 46 powered aircraft, 4 gliders, and 85 vehicles across Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming. Civil Air Patrol is the federally chartered auxiliary of the United States Air Force, headquartered at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The Civil Air Patrol has three congressionally mandated missions: Emergency Services, Cadet Programs and Aerospace Education as well as a steadily increasing role in America’s homeland security.

Prior to his appointment as Region Commander, Col Kettell served as the National Inspector General of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP/IG).  The Inspector General independently assesses the readiness, compliance and efficiency of the Civil Air Patrol.  The CAP/IG is responsible to the National Commander for CAP inspection policy, complaint resolution program, and the fraud, waste and abuse program.  Other prior assignments include Vice Commander – Rocky Mountain Region, and Deputy National Inspector General – Complaint Resolution, Vice Commander – Minnesota Wing and Commander of Minnesota Group 3.

Col. Kettell supported the missions of the Civil Air Patrol in a variety of positions including Search and Rescue Mission Pilot, Ground Branch Director, Minnesota Encampment Commander, Deputy Curriculum Coordinator and Seminar Advisor positions at the Civil Air Patrol’s National Staff College, Instructor positions at the Civil Air Patrol’s National Inspector General College, National Legal Officer College, and Hawk Mountain Ranger School.

Col. Kettell has completed all levels of the Civil Air Patrol’s Senior Training Program, having received the Garber, Loening, Yeager, and Wilson (#2377) awards. He holds a Master Rating in the Command, Emergency Services, and Inspector General specialty tracks and has received numerous CAP honors, including the Distinguished Service, Exceptional Service, Meritorious Service and Commanders Commendation awards.

Col. Kettell is a graduate of St. John’s University in New York, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science with a secondary in business administration. He is currently the Director, Commercial Sales and Business Development – North America for Epson America, Inc. – a global consumer and commercial technology company and resides in Park City, Utah.


Col Jeffrey L Johnson

Col Jeffrey L Johnson, CAP, Wyoming Wing Commander

Col Johnson was raised and educated in Montana. He holds a Master’s degree in school counseling and special education. He was a professional educator for 30 years in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. He is currently retired and is a volunteer librarian. Col Johnson is married with two daughters and three grandchildren. He resides in Arvada, Colorado.

He became a member of the Civil Air Patrol in 2003. His LDS background and experience allowed him to apply for and be accepted as a CAP chaplain. The colonel served as squadron, group and wing chaplain in Colorado for eight years before transferring to Wyoming to become the wing chaplain there. His chaplain assignment ended in 2017 when he was placed on sabbatical to accept his current assignment as wing commander.

He holds a master rating in chaplaincy and technician rating in communications. His emergency services qualifications include mission staff assistant, mission radio operator, communications unit leader and mission chaplain. He is currently working on a rating in the Command Track.

Col Johnson as has attended the following schools: Squadron Leadership School, Corporate Leadership Course, Unit Commander’s Course, Region Staff College, National Staff College and Wing Commander’s Course. He has taken a variety of other CAP and Incident Command System classes, as well. He has taught classes at many of those schools. Col Johnson is CISM (Crisis Incident Stress Management) rated. He has participated in 18 cadet encampments.

He has been awarded the Silver Medal of Valor, CAP’s highest award, an Exceptional Service Award, two Meritorious Service Awards, eight Commander’s Commendations, the Gill Robb Wilson Award, the Grover Loening Award, the Paul Garber Award, the Benjamin Davis Award, the Yeager Award, the Disaster Relief Award with V device, a Search and Rescue ribbon and a Community Service ribbon. In 2015, he was recognized as the National Senior Chaplain of the Year.

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