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Michael R. Foster, 1954-2014, Spaatz #312

Lt Col Michael Foster, CAP, passed away on March 6 2015.

spaatz312Michael served as the NCSA Director for Cadet Officer School from 2009-2011.  The staff of COS 2015 is collecting money to have a brick made for placement under the Bird Dog at National HQ.  To donate, contact us.

Notification courtesy of Michael Kathriner.

Obituary from

Michael Ray Foster was called to the Lord Friday afternoon from his home on March 6, 2015. Michael was born on March 27, 1954 in Denver Colorado to parents Harold and Joretta Foster. He spent part of his early youth in Billings, Montana before his family returned to Denver, where he graduated from Jefferson High School in 1972.

From his youth, Michael had aspirations to join the United States Air Force. He enrolled in ROTC at the Metro State College in Denver and earned the rank of Second Lieutenant upon his graduation. During his studies, Michael met Helen Willette Christopher in 1977 and the couple married in 1979. He received the Distinguished Graduate award from Colorado University and began his active duty in the armed forces in 1981. The couple had their first son Jason in 1983 while living in Great Falls Montana. Michael was gifted with a second son in 1987 while stationed in Southern California. Michael and his family finally settled in Montgomery, Alabama in 1995, returning to where he and his wife had first met in 1977.

After retiring from the Air Force, Michael continued his life’s dedication to integrity and commitment to excellence. He sought to inspire these positive qualities in others through his volunteer work supporting the Cadet Officer School, the Civil Air Patrol, and through his leadership in the John-Archer Elmore chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. He was quick to volunteer, dauntless in the pursuit of excellence, and humble in his accolades.

Michael is survived by his wife Helen “Kris” Foster; his sons Jason (Amanda) Foster and Justin Foster; his sisters Diana (Derek) Baranowski and Valerie (Garry); and his close friend William (Fran) Stone. He was preceded in death by parents Harold and Joretta Foster.

John W. McGaha, Spaatz #666, 1963 – 2014

Courtesy of Alisha Cope Christian via the TSA Facebook page.

It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of one our longtime friends in MER Cadet Programs, Lt Col John McGaha.

“LTC John McGaha passed away peacefully this morning surrounded by family and friends. He fought his terrible disease courageously and with dignity.

LTC McGaha served Civil Air Patrol for over 37 years starting in the cadet program. He served in countless cadet positions at the squadron and Wing level and was the spirit behind the establishment of the Delaware Wing Diamond Flight Drill Team. John achieved the rank of Cadet Colonel and received the Spaatz Award (#666).

Lt Col John McGaha receives the National Outstanding Senior Member of the Year Award from Maj Gen Amy Courter during the 2008 CAP National Board Meeting.

John gave himself to the CAP program with true passion especially to the cadet program. Countless cadets in Delaware Wing saw John as a mentor with his dedication to developing the best cadets and creating the finest drill teams and color guards for the NCC. He demanded perfection from his team and cadets. John cared deeply about the cadet program. He always thought of it as giving back to the program that have him so much as a cadet. He was often to say ” Its all about the cadets”. John gave to the cadets to the end even while he was battling his illness that was taking his physical strength. Over the weeks countless former and current DEWG cadets visited him. His spirits were lifted as he talked about the drill teams and saw the success of his former cadets. He met with recent and current drill team cadets and encouraged them to excel as CAP cadets and reminded them how much that they have grown from being members if the CAP program.

John was a leader, mentor and friend to many across the country in Civil Air Patrol. We are all better for having known him.

Please keep Johns wife Jen, his 3 children and his family in your prayers in this difficult time.

I will pass along any information regarding services as they become available.”

Robert A. Hotchkiss Jr. Major CAP
Director of Cadet Programs
Delaware Wing Civil Air Patrol

Ed. Note: If you have additional information on John’s passing, or would like to share your stories of him, please add a comment below.

Steven R. Gullberg, II, #1465, 1985 – 2013

1465_profile_picSteve Gullberg, II, Spaatz #1465 died suddenly on Monday, 2 December 2013, in a plane crash in Puerto Rico.  Steve was the first second-generation Spaatz award recipient, son of Spaatz #439, Lt Col Steven Gullberg.

Below is a brief excerpt summarizing Steve’s extraordinary life.


Steven earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in 2008.

While in college he started two very successful internet businesses marketing electronics, one of which he maintained until deciding to re-enter flight training to do what he loved the most – fly.

Steve had been exposed to airplanes and flying since before he was born, flying with us while I taught Jessica to fly while she was pregnant with him. After his birth we continued flying with him in a car seat behind us in the airplane. By the time he could talk he said that when he grew up he wanted to fly. I took him flying from time to time and took him on the airline trips I was flying as well. One time we headed on a trip to Sweden for the weekend on a day’s notice. TWA had me teaching pilots to fly our airplanes in simulators and I would take him there and let him fly too. I also picked up a new MD-80 from the factory in Long Beach, CA – Steve came along and flew back to Kansas City with me riding in the cockpit. Steve soloed a glider when he was 14 and I, as his instructor, soloed him in a Cessna 172 on his 16th birthday.

He joined the Civil Air Patrol as a cadet as he entered the sixth grade. Steve loved the airplanes and all of the other aspects of the program. It was with CAP that he flew gliders and received orientation flights on military aircraft as well. He rose rapidly through the ranks, becoming the cadet commander of his squadron. He attended CAP’s Air Force Pararescue Orientation Course at Kirtland AFB, NM, and went on the International Air Cadet Exchange to Australia. Ultimately Steve earned Civil Air Patrol’s highest cadet honor – the General Carl A. Spaatz Award. He was the 1465th cadet to do so in the long history of the achievement and this promoted him to the rank of Cadet Colonel. His father earned the 439th Spaatz Award when he was a cadet and Steven became CAP’s first second-generation Spaatz Award recipient.

Steven played football all four years that he attended Hazelwood Central High School. He also was honored as a division winner at the Greater St Louis Science Fair at Queeny Park for a project he that did showing the boundary layer separation of the airflow over the upper surface of a wing in accordance with changes in the wing’s angle of attack.

Steve was a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and played football for Hazelwood Central High School. He was a Cadet Colonel in the Civil Air Patrol and a member of St. Peters United Church of Church.

Doug Roach, Spaatz #1, 1942 – 2013

(Courtesy of Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters)

Civil Air Patrol’s First Spaatz Award Recipient Dies After Distinguished Public Service Career

Decorated CAP cadet from Michigan became a skilled Air Force combat pilot who flew with the Thunderbirds and served as a trusted congressional aide.

Retired Col. Douglas C. Roach as an Air Force Thunderbird pilot (left) and in conversation at a Spaatz Association dinner about five years ago.(Left photo courtesy of Michael Jacobssen; right photo courtesy of Mike Murphy.)

Retired Col. Douglas C. Roach as an Air Force Thunderbird pilot (left) and in conversation at a Spaatz Association dinner about five years ago.
(Left photo courtesy of Michael Jacobssen; right photo courtesy of Mike Murphy.)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. – Douglas C. Roach, the first recipient of Civil Air Patrol’s highest cadet award, the General Carl A. Spaatz Award, died Jan. 11 at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., from complications related to cancer. He was 70.

“The Spaatz Association wishes to express its deep regret and condolences in the passing of Doug Roach,” said retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Ted Bowlds, the association’s president. “As the first Spaatz award recipient, Doug certainly set the standard in the qualities represented in all Spaatz recipients that followed. We have him and his family in our thoughts and prayers.”

Roach made Civil Air Patrol and Spaatz history as a Michigan Wing cadet in the 1960s. He was born in Romulus, Mich., on Nov. 18, 1942.

“Doug was handpicked by Jack Sorenson (CAP’s cadet program leader at the time) to be tested for the first Spaatz,” said Col. Larry Trick, a Spaatz recipient and former president of the association. “Jack noticed Doug in 1962 at the National Cadet Competition, where he was commander of the Michigan Wing drill team that won the competition that year.”

Trick said the Spaatz test in its infancy was handwritten, with mostly essay-type questions. Today the test has evolved into a more sophisticated, multi-step process, but the Spaatz award remains the most coveted of CAP’s cadet honors.

Named after the first chief of staff of the Air Force and the first chairman of the CAP National Board, the Spaatz award is presented to cadets who demonstrate excellence in leadership, character, fitness and aerospace education. Cadets typically qualify for the award after devoting an average of five years to progress through 16 achievements in the CAP Cadet Program.

Click image for virtual memorial.

Once a cadet achieves the award, he or she is entitled to the grade of cadet colonel. On average, only two cadets in 1,000 earn the Spaatz award. Since the award’s inception in 1964, CAP has presented the Spaatz award to less than 1,900 cadets.

Roach became a highly decorated officer and skilled U.S. Air Force pilot. After flying 516 combat missions during several tours in Vietnam between 1969 and 1972, he was a pilot with the Air Force flight performance team, the Thunderbirds, from 1973-75. He began with the aerial demonstration team flying Thunderbird #6 when the team flew the F-4 Phantom and he served as the team’s logistics officer. Roach retired from the Air Force with the rank of colonel.

Despite the notoriety he gained above the clouds in the Air Force, Brig. Gen. Richard L. Anderson said Roach was grounded in the achievements of his youth, which included his “place of honor in the annals of CAP history” as the first Spaatz recipient.

“I remember meeting Doug for the first time at a Spaatz Association event soon after the organization was created in the mid-1990s,” said Anderson, past president of the association and former CAP national commander who now chairs the organization’s Board of Governors. “Although Doug’s professional military and congressional staff career precluded his remaining active in CAP, he remained dedicated to the purposes of the CAP Cadet Program and attributed CAP with his later accomplishments in life.”

“He was a hero to me and many cadets in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s,” said Trick. “Often, we would see him on the Hill during National CAP Legislative Day. He always had a great smile and handshake for the cadets.”

Roach earned a bachelor’s degree in government at the University of Michigan and, after his distinguished service in the Air Force, a master’s degree in national security studies from Georgetown University.

He continued his career of public service on Capitol Hill, most recently as the longtime staff director for the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces.

In his obituary this week, Congressional Quarterly’s Roll Call said Roach was a cornerstone of every defense authorization law since 1991, whether as a professional staff member on the veteran defense panel, or its staff director since 2001.

“His work was key to developing the smart weapons we use today,” said Trick. The longtime congressional aide also was noted for serving both Democrats and Republicans, working through important national security legislation. In the Roll Call obituary, Rep. Michael R. Turner, the Ohio Republican who chairs the Tactical Air and Land Forces panel, said, “Doug Roach was a trusted counselor to members on both sides of the aisle for many years. He always gave us his best advice, regardless of party interest or agenda.”

Roach’s boss, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., called him “a selfless servant and true hero.”

Raymond T. Hawkins, #172, 1951 – 2012

Col Larry Trick reported that Spaatz #171, Lieutenant Colonel Raymond T. Hawkins, CAP, passed away in 2012.  His obituary from the Frederick (MD) News-Post is reprinted below.


Mr. Raymond T. Hawkins Jr., 61, of Bogota, Columbia, died Thursday, September 20, 2012 at his residence of Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He was the loving husband of Ana (Lopez) Hawkins.

Born July 6, 1951, in Frederick, MD, he was the son of Gladys Hawkins and the late Raymond T. Hawkins, Sr.

As a young boy, he took piano lessons and played in his home town church in Bellsville, Michigan. In his teenage years, he was a devoted member of the Civil Air Patrol and received the rank of Lt. Col. He was known to “hang on the fence” at the airport waiting for a ride from any pilot that would take him up to the sky. He received his private pilot’s license soon after.

Raymond graduated from Gov. Thomas Johnson High in 1969 and then attended theUniversity of Maryland. Following the University of Maryland, he was recruited by the Rider Truck Company in Taylorsville, Michigan. He was promoted to CEO of the company until his retirement.

He married his wife, Ana and lived in Bogota, Columbia, forming the Columbia Secrets Company exporting Columbian hats.

In addition to his wife and mother, he is survived by his brothers, Lloyd Hawkins and wife Peggy of Greencastle, PA and Byron Hawkins and wife Nancy of Frederick, MD, beloved sister, Julie Blake of Myersville, MD, nieces, Megan, Tara and Heather Hawkins, nephew, Jeremy Hawkins.

In addition to his father, he was preceded in death by his brother, Leon Hawkins.

Arrangements will be private. Online condolences may be shared at

Published Online in The Frederick News-Post on Sept. 22, 2012

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