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Major Philip Feldman (r), Putnam County Composite Squadron Deputy Commander, congratulates squadron Aerospace Education Officer Ralph Langham (l) on his promotion to major during the squadron awards ceremony held on March 31, 2017 at the Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services in Carmel, NY. (Photo: Major Peter Milano)

New Fairfield resident Ralph C. Langham was promoted to the grade of major by Civil Air Patrol’s Putnam County Composite Squadron in a ceremony held on March 31, 2017 at the Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services located in Carmel, New York.

Langham was also awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for his work as the squadron Aerospace Education Officer, where he instructs cadets in topics such as rocketry, robotics, flying drones and remote controlled airplanes. Langham, who holds a master rating as aerospace education officer, transferred from the position with the 399th Composite Squadron in Danbury, Connecticut to the Putnam County Composite Squadron in February 2016. “It was a hard decision to make the move to New York, but they were in need of an aerospace officer and Danbury had two excellent AE officers, so it was time to move on and the move was excellent. It was also very important to me to keep the friendships that I had developed in Danbury,” said Langham, who still volunteers with the 399th during their annual Wreaths Across America program.

Langham has been a member of the Carmel, NY American Legion Marne Post for fifty one years and the New Fairfield Girl Scouts for over twenty years. He also received Certificates of Merit from NY State Senator Terence P. Murphy (40th Senate District), NY State Senator Sue Serino (41st Senate District) and Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (95th Assembly District). Finally he was presented with the Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. Award which is given to Civil Air Patrol members who complete Level Two of the Senior Member Professional Development Program. The award recognizes those members who have dedicated themselves to leadership and personal development in Civil Air Patrol. This award was first given in 2006 and honors the late General Benjamin O. Davis Jr. who was the leader of the fabled Tuskegee Airman in World War II and the first African American to become a general in the U.S. Air Force.

When asked what he considered the highlight of the ceremony Langham stated, “It was not so much the awards I got, but being able to present the prestigious Model Rocketry Badge to cadet First Lieutenant Alexxis Hoernes. Everything that I do for CAP is about working with the cadets and presenting one with such an outstanding award is what motivates me.”

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 www.capvolunteernow.com for more information.

By Major Peter Milano