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Woman takes command of squadron

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In a small ceremony Saturday outside Watertown International Airport near Dexter, Capt. Michaela Ormsbee of Lowville became the first female commander of the Civil Air Patrol’s Fort Drum-Watertown Composite Squadron, NY-406.

“I’m happy about it, but also I feel I have to make doubly sure that I do a good job,” she said before the ceremony. “Women have to work a little bit harder, especially if you have somebody that you replaced that’s a great commander.”

Capt. Ormsbee succeeds her husband, Maj. Robert R. Ormsbee. He recently was appointed professional development officer and assistant emergency services officer for the Civil Air Patrol of Central New York Group. The group oversees squadrons in Watertown, Fulton, Syracuse, Rome and Utica. The Civil Air Patrol is the civilian auxiliary of the Air Force.

“I’ve been the commander for four years; it’s time for me to relinquish my command,” Maj. Ormsbee said.

Capt. Ormsbee will oversee 31 members within the squadron, which covers Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. The volunteer force includes adults as well as cadets ages 12 to 18. Capt. Ormsbee has been a member of the squadron for three years, filling various roles in that time.

The squadron was re-established in July 2009 after it had been disbanded following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The group used to be responsible primarily for air surveillance, but according to Capt. Ormsbee, cadets now train in air and ground disaster readiness and support, as well as search and rescue.

“My main goal now is to train the cadets in emergency services and also in cadet programs. Emergency services is essential by wing command and is now the utmost important thing to do,” she said.

The ceremony was presided over by the Central New York Group commander, Lt. Col. John Jones. During the ceremony, Maj. Ormsbee was promoted officially from captain, and Michael Rouleau, 12, was promoted from cadet airman basic to cadet airman. It was his first of potentially 16 promotions.

Anyone interested in learning more about the squadron can email NY406info@frontier.com.

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