Civil Air Patrol to Induct Anderson into Hall of Honor

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Former national commander, Board of Governors chairman honored for 45 years of service to CAP

Brig. Gen. Richard L. Anderson

This is Civil Air Patrol's highest honor, our way of thanking Rich Anderson for his lifetime of service to CAP.

A former national commander and chairman of Civil Air Patrol’s Board of Governors will become the newest inductee into the organization’s Hall of Honor when members convene on Saturday at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort for their 2015 National Conference.

Brig. Gen. Richard L. Anderson of Woodbridge, Va. – a retired U.S. Air Force Pentagon official – is the 35th person inducted into the Hall of Honor. He is being recognized for his 45 years of service to CAP, which includes command of the organization from 1993 to 1996 as its national commander and more recent service on its top governing body.

In 1994 during his tenure as national commander, Anderson was instrumental in a major revision to the CAP Constitution and Bylaws. As a member of the Board of Governors some 18 years later, he was once again an integral part of a major overhaul of the CAP governance structure and the adoption of a new Constitution and Bylaws.

“This is Civil Air Patrol’s highest honor, our way of thanking Rich Anderson for his lifetime of service to CAP,” said National Commander Maj. Gen. Joe Vazquez. “He has been the consummate member of CAP, starting as a cadet and then working his way through the ranks to become national commander. His steady leadership throughout his CAP career has laid the foundation for much of what is happening in CAP today.”

Soon after joining Civil Air Patrol, Anderson achieved CAP’s highest cadet honor, the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award, in 1972. Twenty-one years later, he became the first Spaatz Award recipient to serve as national commander, having previously filled the roles of national vice commander, region commander, wing commander and squadron commander. He also earned CAP’s highest senior member achievement, the Gill Robb Wilson Award.

Anderson’s service at Civil Air Patrol’s highest levels did not end when his tenure as national commander concluded. He sat on the CAP Board of Governors from February 2009-August 2014, including eight months as vice chairman and two years as chairman. He continues his service as an Emeritus member of the Board of Governors, a non-voting advisory position, and also chairs the National Advisory Council, which consists of the 10 living former national commanders of Civil Air Patrol.

He has been awarded Life Membership in CAP and is also a recipient of the Silver Medal of Valor and seven Distinguished Service Medals. He holds a Federal Aviation Administration commercial pilot certificate and is a command pilot with 2,100 flying hours.

In thinking about his induction into the CAP Hall of Honor, Anderson said, “I’m honored beyond words to join the prior inductees, most of whom I knew personally from my teenage years and into adulthood. Each were distinguished Americans who served Civil Air Patrol, the Air Force, and our nation with distinction. Each left an indelible fingerprint on our organization and literally thousands of lives.”

Anderson said CAP’s cadet program was “the catalyst that sparked my journey,” which led to his service as CAP national commander, BoG chairman, a 30-year Air Force career, and follow-on public service in the Virginia General Assembly. “To say that I am eternally indebted to CAP is an understatement,” he said.

Anderson retired in 2009 as a full Air Force colonel after a military career highlighted by service as senior military advisor to the deputy under secretary of the Air Force and senior military assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He commanded Titan II Intercontinental Ballistic Missile launch centers and combat crews; led and operated a Minuteman II ICBM squadron, missiles and launch crews; and was a senior leader at Strategic Air Command Headquarters, U.S. Atlantic Command Headquarters, U.S. Pacific Command Headquarters and the Pentagon.

He also served two years as chief of the USAF Auxiliary Division in the Air Force Directorate of Homeland Security, leading the Pentagon agency that formulated policy and guidance for CAP programs.

Today Anderson serves his native Virginia, representing the 51st House District (Northern Virginia) in the General Assembly. He chairs the House Committee on Science and Technology and also sits as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, House General Laws Committee and House Transportation Committee. In addition, he chairs the House-Senate Military and Veterans Caucus and the Virginia Commission on Civics Education.

As the newest CAP Hall of Honor inductee, Anderson joins CAP’s most prestigious body. Previous inductees in the 73-year history of CAP have included Gill Robb Wilson, who served as the first director of Civil Air Patrol, and World War II-era Gen. Carl A. “Tooey” Spaatz, the first chief of staff of the Air Force.


Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 58,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs about 85 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 70 lives annually. Its unpaid professionals also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. Performing missions for America for the past 73 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 for more information.

CAP contact:
Julie DeBardelaben – jdebardelaben(at)capnhq(dot)gov – 334-953-7748, ext. 250; 334-549-2224
Steve Cox – scox(at)capnhq(dot)gov – 334-953-7748, ext. 251; 334-296-5881

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Julie DeBardelaben
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