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Willis Named to Command Civil Air Patrol’s Georgia Wing

July 10, 2023

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Col.-select Michael Willis has been named the next Commander of Civil Air Patrol’s Georgia Wing, after serving in diverse CAP leadership roles for a combined total of 30 years. A United States Air Force veteran, Willis has also enjoyed a highly successful career as a technology manager for a major insurance company.

“Col.-select Willis brings a distinguished list of CAP accomplishments to this position,” said Col. Andrea Van Buren, commander, Southeast Region, Civil Air Patrol, as she announced the appointment. “He has most recently demonstrated his commitment to our members in his oversight of the CAP National Mentoring Program. The duties include supervising 40 members of staff and 500+ members in the program. Additionally, he serves as the director of safety and as the assistant chief of staff for CAP’s Georgia wing. His values and determination make a lasting impression on those with whom he interacts. He is a tremendous asset to our organization.”

Willis will formally succeed Col. Jeff Garrett, wing commander since 2019, in a change of command at the Georgia wing conference in September 2023. Garrett steps into the role of commander, Southeast Region, Civil Air Patrol. 

Col.-select Willis has focused his CAP career on the support, development, and education of all members in the organization. “My personal leadership philosophy can be summed as, ‘Make people your first focus and your missions will excel.’ We are nothing without our dedicated volunteers who freely give their time and talent, no matter when we call upon them. It is inspiring and deeply humbling to see what our teams can achieve, and I look forward to this opportunity with Georgia wing.”

Willis has completed all five levels of the CAP training levels and earned the highest CAP education honor, the Gill Robb Wilson award. He originally joined CAP in 1987 in the Shorty Powers Squadron (GLR-IL-189) and achieved the grade of C/MSgt. (Goddard) prior to enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in 1990. During his time in the U.S. Air Force, he maintained the avionics systems on the B-1B and B-2 bombers, joining the first Air Force B-2 Maintenance Flight of the 393D Bomb Squadron. After a year, he became a military training instructor at Lackland AFB, where he served until he separated from active duty in 1995. He was awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, and the Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal.

Willis returned to CAP in 1996 as an adult member in the McLean County (IL) composite squadron (GLR-IL-240). He held the positions of deputy commander, squadron commander, group commander, and many diverse staff positions in the organization. In Georgia, he served as assistant deputy commander of cadets and emergency services training officer/Gwinnett Composite; commander, Group 2; and vice commander (North), Georgia Wing. 

Col.-sel Willis is currently employed as a technology manager with a large insurance company in Dunwoody, Georgia. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University, Normal, IL, and an avionics degree from the Community College of the USAF.

Tagged As: Change of Command

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