Thompson Valley Composite Squadron

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Thompson Valley Composite Squadron (TVCS) is a Civil Air Patrol unit located in Fort Collins Colorado and is a unit of the Colorado Wing Civil Air Patrol. TVCS was formed in 1978 after Loveland Composite Squadron and Fort Collins Senior Squadron combined. The unit is commanded by Major Bruno Krioussis who has been a member of the squadron since 2004; and meets on a weekly basis at the Colorado State University Military Sciences Building.

While different units across the state focus more on specific missions of Civil Air Patrol, TVCS actively encompasses all of the missions: Cadet Programs, Emergency Services, and Aerospace Education.

Prior to 2005 there is not much public record of the Squadron, but at this time the squadron started adopting electronic records and soon adopted Google Docs which has proven to be very successful for record keeping and planning for the squadron. Because of these improvements the staff had a much more successful time planning activities and thus encompassing all of the missions of CAP in a way that was steadily maintainable. This attracts young adults interested in many different aspects, some join simply for the leadership training, or for the flight training and have no interest in the military. Others join for the 'military like' experience, each for their own, TVCS is unique in this.

In 2005, the squadron was hovering steadily at about 30 senior officers and no more than a hand full of cadets. On a typical meeting night only about 6 cadets would show up. This was a tough time for the squadron, but with all of the improvements, numbers started to grow, and cadets started hitting recruiting hard. In 3 years the squadron jumped to nearly 40 cadets, and in 2010 topped 100, where it hovers steadily now. Most recently TVCS reached 123 cadets in May of 2012, making it the largest non-school sponsored squadron in the nation, barely passing up Colorado Springs Cadet Squadron and Air Academy Cadet Squadron both located in Colorado Springs Colorado. Both Squadrons also hover around 100 cadets annually.

Cadet Programs

Young adults starting at age 12 may join TVCS or any CAP unit around the world. Once a person turns 18 however, they must enter into the Senior Officer program, unless they were a cadet member before turning 18, in which case they may continue as a cadet until turning 21.

A normal monthly meeting schedule will look similar to this (Cadets, do not use this as a reference, please see the Operations Orders sent out by the C/CC prior to the meeting):
1st Thursday of the month: Character development classes, drill
2nd Thursday of the month: Specialty classes including but not limited to any of the missions of CAP
3rd Thursday of the month: Specialty classes including but not limited to any of the missions of CAP
4th Thursday of the month: Physical Training and Testing.

Typically meeting times are 7:00PM to 9:00PM, however cadets begin arriving for other meetings anytime between 5:00PM and 7:00PM.

All cadets who meet height and weight standards plus grooming standards are permitted to wear the Air Force uniforms with distinctive CAP insignia including the Battle Dress Uniform, the Air Force Service Uniforms, and Flight Suits (with proper aeronautical ratings.) TVCS has a Uniform Of the Day each week which cadets are expected to wear to the meetings. This is typically the Service Uniform (Blues) on the first Thursday of the month, BDU's the second and third Thursdays and Physical Training Uniforms on the last Thursday of the month.

To promote in the rank structure of CAP, cadets must pass exams in Aerospace and Leadership. Upon joining the program, cadets will receive the books they will need to study for these tests. Online Aerospace and Leadership tests are administered to cadets via CAP eservices. Some cadets (those in the Leadership for the 21st Century track or taking a Milestone Award test) may complete paper Leadership or Milestone tests administered each meeting night (except CPFT night) between 6:30 and 7:00 pm.

To fully appreciate the services and training CAP has to offer, cadets are HIGHLY encouraged to take part in extra curricular activities such as, but not limited to: High Plains Honor Guard, Drill Team, Orientation Flights, and TVEST.

High Plains Honor Guard

Cadet members of the High Plains Honor Guard perform a sequence called "Laterals" at Spring Canyon Park in Fort Collins

This team of elite cadets within Thompson Valley Composite Squadron perform duties in the public eye and are the faces of Civil Air Patrol. HPHG has a tough training schedule and demands high performance from its members. The team performs two main duties: Colors Element, which is responsible for posting, displaying, parading and presenting the U.S. Flag and other associated flags under bear of arms. The second main duty that is unique to HPHG is the Drill Team. These members are physically fit and have the ability to toss and twirl rifles weighing around 10 pounds. This team is a demonstration team which serves to personify the missions of the Civil Air Patrol. These cadets are on call 24/7 to be ready to put their skills to work anywhere at any time, be it, a crowded room full of state dignitaries, high winds at events in local parks, or for local sporting teams such as the Colorado Eagles. The Honor Guard's motto is "Not to set the standards, but to exceed them."

Drill Team

If you can picture a varsity sports team, you might see the Drill Team as the varsity cadet activity. The Drill Team serves a mission to compete and win at the yearly National Cadet Competition. NCC tests cadets and their skills to their maximum potential. Cadets must be familiar with and very proficient in Drill, Knowledge of basic CAP history, Aerospace, Leadership, and Current Aerospace Events. As well as have good physical abilities to perform well in a mile run, and multiple Volley Ball games. These cadets have to not only be strong, but they must have a tough mental character as well. The training and competing can be very draining, and each cadet must be motivated to keep the team running. The Eagles Drill Team is a 15 member unit, with 12 cadets who form a basic flight (drill unit) 1, who commands it, 1 back up, and 1 Senior Officer who oversees the team. The Eagles meet on Sunday afternoons starting at 1:00PM at the South College Gym at Colorado State University and train until anywhere from 4:00 to 6:00PM

The Eagles Drill Team makes last minute preparations for the Inspection phase of NCC 2011 in Dayton Ohio

Each year the team competes at the State (Wing) Level, and in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 have come in first place and continued on to the Regional Cadet Competition (RCC) which includes Idaho, Montana, Colorado, and Utah. In 2008 the team traveled to RCC at Camp Williams ARNG Base in Utah. In 2009 the Eagles went to Malmstrom AFB Montana, and 2010 Peterson AFB Colorado Springs to compete at RCC. Each year at RCC the Eagles lost the competition to the Utah Wing Titans Drill Team who were two time National Champions. But, in 2011 and 2012 there was no competition for RCC and the team won by default and continued on to National Cadet Competition at Wright State University in Dayton Ohio where they won 6th place out 8 teams in 2011, and received second place in the written examination category. It may not sound like much, but for a team that had never been to NCC, this is truly an amazing feat. In 2012 the C/Capt Jordan Fisher received the highest written exam score.

Also, notably, the Eagles Drill Team is completely durrived from Thompson Valley Composite Squadron. This is so rare, that until 2011 there is no record of a single squadron drill team having competed at the National Cadet Competition. This was such an amazing feat that the National Commander to be, General Charles Carr asked for a picture with the 6th place team. For prospective, the only other team he requested to get a picture with was the first place team from Puerto Rico. Also notable, There is no record of Colorado Wing sending a drill team to NCC since the 1960s.

Orientation Flights

Upon membership as a cadet in CAP, all cadets are entitled to 10 free orientation flights. This would be 5 in powered aircraft and 5 in glider aircraft. The Aircraft used for O-Flights are owned by the U.S. Air Force and are contracted out to CAP. Thompson Valley has access to two different powered aircraft, one is contracted to the squadron (N652CP, a Cessna 182T with G1000 systems, and is flown out of Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport KFNL) and the other is contracted to the Greeley Composite Squadron (N9559X, a Cessna 182, and is flown out of Greeley-Weld County Airport.) Unfortunately, The Air Force has recently cut funding to CAP and because of this O-Rides are either a rare opportunity or are not happening at all in Colorado Wing. HOWEVER, some funds do show up sporadically and cadets must act quickly to take these opportunities as they go fast!

N652CP, Thompson Valley's Cessna 182T, sits on the ramp at Akron Airport, Colorado.

Also, cadets in TVCS often get the opportunity to fly in military aircraft. The Air Force and U.S. Army allow cadets to fly with them about once a year. Cadets members and Senior Officers of TVCS have gotten the chance to fly in such aircraft as: UH-1 Hueys, CH-47 Chinooks, UH-60 Blackhawks, and C-130 Hercules.

Also, thanks to internal connections, every now and then members of TVCS get the opportunity to fly in multi-million dollar simulators at the United Flight Training Center, in Denver, such as the Airbus A-320, Boeing 757 and Boeing 767.

Thompson Valley Emergency Services Team

TVEST for short is the elite ground team members of Thompson Valley. The TVEST team puts on a weekend training seminar once a year in the Rocky Mountains typically near Red Feather Colorado, however the exact location is undisclosed to trainees. This "Bivouac" is an opportunity for cadets to train cadets at skills such as survival, man tracking, L-Per use, and first aid. This activity provides cadets with the opportunity to qualify in Emergency Services skills and earn their title as Ground Team Members, who proudly display a badge which is awarded upon completion of training.

TVEST Trainees work with RMT and LCSAR members at a Bivouac near Red Feather

TVEST Members train closely with Larimer County Search and Rescue which is known around the world for its all volunteer search teams as well as their partner group, Rocky Mountain Trackers who also train closely with TVEST. Larimer County SAR and TVEST recently partnered during LCSAR's Basic Search and Rescue Training (BASART) class which is to train members to become SAR team members for Larimer County, and allowed CAP cadets under the minimum age requirement to take part in the BASART Class because of the relationship that has grown in the past few years. One cadet over 18 is also now a qualified member of LCSAR. Not to mention multiple Senior Officers who have been with LCSAR for decades!

The TVEST team is on a 24 hour alert, ready to go out on missing person searches, and aircraft searches in any terrain and any weather conditions.

Emergency Services

Thompson Valley Composite Squadron takes part in many different fields of Emergency Services (ES). Within ES there are separate missions: Search and Rescue, Disaster Relief, Counter Narcotics, and Homeland Security. TVCS actively serves in two of these missions.

Search and Rescue

The TVEST team is one of two teams that go on search missions. The other is the aircrews. This is a Senior Officer mission typically, however, cadets over the age of 18 can train in some flight crew positions. The Aircrews fly CAP Aircraft in prescribed search patterns with qualified Mission Scanners sitting in the back on the look out for anything. To become a SAR pilot, one must go through countless hours of training and familiarization before going to work on real missions.

Disaster Relief

In 2009 An F5 Tornado struck the town of Windsor Colorado, and within 4 hours, Civil Air Patrol members, including cadets of all ages were on scene helping with the clean up efforts. In 2007 a Large winter storm struck Colorado and dumped many feet of snow on south eastern Colorado, trapping livestock and drivers with no way for Emergeny Services to get to them. CAP flew their aircraft for hundreds of hours in a couple days searching for stranded motorists and livestock. After locating these victims, they raidoed their location to the Army National Guard to so they could bring in their Blackhawks to drop hay for livestock and pick up stranded people.

These are just a few examples of what Thompson Valley is trained and prepared for.

Aerospace Education

Because Civil Air Patrol is the Auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, Aerospace is a big part of training. Upon membership to CAP, cadets receive books on Aircraft, Aircraft Systems, Space, Spacecraft and systems, Airports, and Weather. Cadets must read these books called "Modules" and take tests on them to promote in the rank structure. TVCS is also active in the Rocketry Program which familiarizes cadets with rockets, their functions and history. Upon successful completion of the Rocketry Program, cadets can earn the Rocketry Badge.

Developing future leaders of our military

Many cadets who join Civil Air Patrol do so with the intention of enlisting or commissioning into the military one day. These are former TVCS cadets who have gone on to train or serve with our armed forces.

Former TVCS cadets now serving
CAP Grade Name Branch Year Jobs
C/Col Jennifer Niswender United States Army 2011 UH-60 Blackhawk Maintainer
C/TSgt Alex Collins United States Air Force 2008 Security Forces
C/CMSgt Zach Reeves United States Navy 2008 Master at Arms
C/Capt Andrew Harrison United States Army National Guard/Army ROTC 2009 CH-47 Chinook Maintainer/Pilot. Commissioned 2013
C/Capt Andrew Constant United States Coast Guard Academy 2011 Cadet
C/Maj Skylar Caldwell Kansas Air National Guard 2013 KC-135 Stratotanker Crew Chief
C/MSgt Garret Rose Virginia Military Institute 2011 Cadet
C/MSgt Andrew Johnson United States Air Force ROTC 2011 Cadet
C/2dLt Alex Nuckols United States Air Force ROTC 2012 Cadet
C/Capt Bob Kent United States Air Force Commissioned 2011 Unknown
C/SrA Jacob Schirber Merchant Marine Academy 2007 Cadet

Command Structure

Interested in finding out more about where Thompson Valley Composite Squadron sits on the Chain of Command? The structure CAP uses is slightly different than that of the Air Force.

Civil Air Patrol Command Structure
Title Echelon Location Command title Commander
National Head Quarters United States Maxwell AFB National Commander Maj Gen Charles L. Carr, CAP
Regional Head Quarters Region: Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana West Jordan Utah Region Commander Col Greg G. Cortum, CAP
Wing Head Quarters State: Colorado Peterson AFB Wing Commander Col Earl Sherwin, CAP
Group Headquarters: Group 2 Northern Colorado Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport Group Commander Major Von C. Campbell, CAP
Squadron: Thompson Valley Composite Squadron Services: Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor, Timnath Colorado State University Military Sciences Building Squadron Commander Major Bruno G. Krioussis, CAP

The Squadron is the most basic operating unit in CAP, and is typically the last listed on charts, however within TVCS there are two separate Command Structures for cadets and senior officers. For the most part each senior staff position reports to the Squadron Commander. The Cadet Structure looks like this:

Cadet Chain of Command
Title Name
Deputy Commander For Cadets Major Michael Tier, CAP
Cadet Commander C/Capt Jonah Moss, CAP
Flight Commander This position is held by 3 Cadet Officers or Senior NCO's
Flight Sergeant This position is held by 3 Cadet Junior or Senior NCO's
Element Leader This position is held by typically 3 Cadet Airmen or Junior NCO's in the a flight

Joining TVCS Cadets

Twice a year TVCS hold an open house followed by a training program for all "basic cadets." Admittance to the squadron cadet program is not permitted any other times throughout the year. Both parents and children are welcome to attend the open house. At the open house, young adults interested in joining will be separated from their parents and listen to the current cadets talk about the squadron and opportunities CAP has to offer. They will then be quickly put into a Leadership Reaction Course (LRC) where they will be forced to work as a team with fellow prospective cadets. This activity is both fun and stressful, but provides everyone with an idea of some of the things they will be doing as cadets. The parents will be briefed by senior officers and possibly some senior cadets for roughly an hour on what the cadets do and some of the more logistical information parents need to know. Then they will be free to ask question. If The family decides this is something they want to get into, the cadet will be asked to attend the Eaglet Training Program.

Eaglet Training Program

The program is an 8 week program where cadets will learn about basic CAP history and knowledge, wear of the uniform, operations of CAP and the Squadron, basic leadership, and aerospace knowledge. These classes will take place during normal meeting times on Thursdays, but will not be taken with the rest of the squadron. A staff of very experienced cadets will take care of training for the "Eaglet Class." It is requested and HIGHLY encouraged that "Eaglets" attend ALL of the training classes. If they do not, they WILL fall behind and may not graduate with the rest of the class.

Eaglets will be given three weeks to make an official decision whether or not they would like to join, and on the third week will be given the membership forms to be filled out and turned in to the Squadron, which will then foreword the paperwork to National Headquarters. Once the Cadet becomes a member they will receive the their membership ID, a CAP ID number and the books they will need to complete the Eaglet Class.

Sometime near the end of the class, the cadets will take a test for promotion to Cadet Airmen (C/Amn), and if they pass, on graduation day will receive their TVCS Squadron patch (as depicted at the top of this page) which they will wear on their uniforms, and their first stripe. At this point they will become official members of TVCS and will be assigned their duties and flight's.

If you would like to epein more information, or submit an interest to the next Open House, please follow this link and enter the information requested. A member of TVCS will contact you with more information!


1.TVCS Eagles, Captain Steve Schneider, CAP, 29 December 2011,
2. PDF File, Unit Honor Guard Program, Lt Col Amanda B. Anderson, CAP
3. Civil Air Patrol 29 December 2011,
4. "Civil Air Patrol, Rocky Mountain Region" Copyright 2009 by DotNetNuke Corporation, December 2011,