Lt Col Brian J. Cuce - Commander

Lt Col Brian Cuce joined the Hawk Mountain leadership team as the Commander in 2016 with over 20 years of experience in Civil Air Patrol as both a cadet and senior member engaged in Emergency Services.  Lt Col Cuce previously served on Hawk staff as the Deputy Commander as well as serving on the leadership team of Pennsylvania Wing's Cadet Training Schools and Northeast Region Cadet Leadership School since 2005 including a tenure as Commander of both programs from  2011-2014.  Apart from his experience running cadet activities, Lt Col Cuce also holds the position of Pennsylvania Wing Assistant Director of Operations and Director of Emergency Services and has his Master Rating in Cadet Programs and Emergency Services.  Outside of CAP, he is an active duty officer in the United States Air Force stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH.

Incident Commander 1 | Expert Ranger #281

Capt Terry Loughran - Deputy Commander

Captain Terry Loughran has spent the better part of 35 years in Civil Air Patrol and HMRS, both as a
cadet and as a senior member. Terry is a former HMRS Cadet Commander and earned his Expert Ranger
in 1985. He has held many positions on the mountain including cadet leadership positions, senior squadron commander and many years as Director of Operations prior to his most recent promotion to the school’s
overall Deputy Commander.  Off the Mountain, Captain Loughran was a CAP Squadron
Commander and an Air Force veteran.  He currently is a blood technician in a
Philadelphia area hospital.

Ground Branch Director | Expert Ranger #155

Capt Brian Bartle - Director of Operations

Capt Bartle was involved in Civil Air Patrol as a cadet in the early 1980s and immediately joined Hawk Mountain as a student and later joined the cadet staff.  Upon returning to Civil Air Patrol in 2008, Capt Bartle has served in various HMRS roles including Squadron Leadership, Operations Section Staff, Commandant of Students, Deputy Chief, Standards and Evaluations and Chief, Standards and Evaluations.  At his home squadron, he is the Deputy Commander of Cadets, Emergency Services Officer, and Logistics Officer.  Off of the mountain, Capt Bartle works in Plastics Manufacturing Management.  He is also a US Army Veteran.

Ground Branch Director | Expert Ranger #248

Lt Col DeEtte Riley - Director of Staff

Lt Col DeEtte Riley first came to the Mountain as a cadet in 1977.  Now, there are few things at Hawk Mountain that have not felt her profound influence.  She is responsible for procuring all supplies and services needed for the management of the school.  She managed the construction bids, materials and accounting for hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of improvements to HMRS.  She has served as NCSA Activity Director and School Deputy Commander, as well as Chief of Staff.  She holds the Ranger Proficiency Grade of Instructor.  When she is not serving at Hawk Mountain, Col Riley is PAWG Assistant Safety Officer and Director of Finance, winning several Finance Officer of the Year Awards, and a feature article in CAP’s Volunteer magazine.  Outside of CAP, Col Riley lives near State College, PA with her husband, Expert Ranger Lt Col Jeff Riley, whom she met through her local squadron. She works for an apartment management company.

Incident Commander 3 | Instructor

SMSgt Cory Felts - First Sergeant

SMSgt Cory Felts began his tenure as the inaugural First Sergeant for Hawk Mountain Ranger School during the summer school in 2018.   He has over 10 years of administrative experience in the Civil Air Patrol as well as over 25 years of operational experience as an Air Force Security Forces Training Superintendent and Combat Arms Instructor.  His military duty also includes special duty assignments as a Professional Military Education Formal Training Instructor for Airman Leadership School and a final assignment as a First Sergeant.  SMSgt Felts is concurrently serving as the Kentucky Wings Command Non-Commissioned Officer, Superintendent of Cadet Programs and Superintendent of Emergency Services.  He holds Master Ratings in Aerospace Education, Cadet Programs and Health Services and the Senior
Rating in Emergency Services and Safety.

Incident Commander 3 | Advanced Ranger

Col Tom Benckert - Advisor to the Commander

Colonel Thomas P. Benckert (Expert Ranger #234) currently serves as the Advisor to the Commander of the Hawk Mountain Ranger School and is the Pennsylvania Wing Search and Rescue Officer. He is also the CAP

Liaison Officer Coordinator at the DHS FEMA National Response Coordination Center in Washington, DC.

Colonel Benckert joined Pennsylvania Wing in 1983 as a cadet member of Philadelphia Cadet Squadron 102 and the Northeast Philadelphia Composite Squadron 104.  He earned the Mitchell Award and the Amelia Earhart Award before leaving to attend Norwich University, The Military College of Vermont. In 2002, Col Benckert rejoined CAP as a senior member in the Vermont Wing where he served in various capacities including Director of Emergency Services, Director of Operations, Chief of Staff, Vice Commander, and finally a full term as Wing Commander.  Previously, Colonel Benckert served in various positions at the Hawk Mountain Ranger School Staff including Instructor, Squadron Commander, Deputy Commander and Commander.  He holds Master Ratings in Emergency Services and Professional Development along with Senior Ratings in Cadet Programs, Safety, and Communications.

Incident Commander 1 | Expert Ranger #234

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Capt Stephen Gundy - Deputy Director of Operations

Biography coming soon.

Ground Branch Director | Expert Ranger #261

Lt Col Jeff Smith - Deputy Director of Staff

Lt Col Jeffry Smith joined CAP as a cadet in 1968 and immediately join the Hawk Mountain team as a student as subsequently staff and continues to serve in this capacity today.  He has served in various CAP Squadron leadership roles and as a member of the Hawk staff he served as Deputy Commander, Planning Section Chief, Training Officer, Cadet Deputy School Commander and also as the school Cadet Executive Officer.  He is one of only five Rangers to achieve the Ranger Proficiency Grade of Expert Ranger at the age of fifteen.  In 1996, Lt Col Smith was responsible for organizing the 40th annual Hawk Mountain Ranger School.  Working with the National Commander and PA Wing Commander, Hawk Mountain was established as a National Cadet Special Activity and remains so to this day.  Finally, Lt Col Smith represents PA Wing at the PEMA EOC coordinating emergency services activities with other State and Federal agencies.  For his service during the response to Hurricane Sandy performing airborne mission crew duties, Lt Col Smith received a National Commanders Commendation.

Operations Section Chief | Expert Ranger #67

Capt Ryan Hoffman - Commandant of Students

Biography coming soon.

Ground Branch Director | Expert Ranger #222

Lt Col Bruce Thompson - Planning Section Chief

Lt Col Thompson has been a member of Civil Air Patrol since 1971. As a cadet, he attended Hawk Mountain Ranger School for both summer and winter programs. Most recently Lt Col Thompson has served as the HMRS Squadron Commander for Sierra Squadron. In his home unit, he is the Deputy Commander for Cadets, an Instructor and Evaluator pilot, ground team leader and assistant Stan Eval Chief for PAWG Group 3.  Lt Col Thompson is a 32 year veteran of the Air National Guard where he retired as the Chief of Staff for the Delaware Air National Guard. Thompson is a Captain for American Airlines and holds a Master of Science degree in management.

Ground Team Leader | Ranger First Class

Maj Ruth Bordner - Finance/Administration Section Chief

Major Ruth Bordner started at Hawk Mountain as a student in Sierra Squadron in 2005 and joined the staff as Administration Assistant the following year.  She has served continuously as Administration Section Chief since 2008.  For her service to the Hawk Mountain program, Maj Bordner was twice awarded the National Commander’s Commendation Award.  She holds the Ranger Proficiency Grade of Instructor.  Off Hawk Mountain, Maj Bordner serves as PAWG Personnel Officer and is an FAA-certified mission drone pilot. She is a retired educator with over 38 years’ experience.

Finance/Admin Section Chief | Instructor

Capt Beata Wirth - Medical Section Chief

Captain Beata Wirth joined CAP as a cadet and has been a primary instructor at Hawk Mountain Ranger School for over twenty years.  She brings a great deal of real-life emergency services leadership experience and a unique perspective to her current position as the Medical Operations Officer.  Capt Wirth was an electronic search specialist and instructor in the Urban Search & Rescue (USAR) service.  She responded to confined space, trench collapse, high angle and water rescues while serving as a county special rescue leader.  She is a Pennsylvania State Fire Academy and Department of Health instructor and has a Master’s Degree in Nursing Education as well as is certified as a Pre-Hospital Registered Nurse.   Capt Wirth achieved the highest awards in both CAP’s Ranger and Medic Programs as both a Master Medic and Expert Ranger.

Ground Team Leader | Master Medic #24 | Expert Ranger #257

Maj Mark Hahn - Logistics Section Chief

Biography coming soon.

Ground Branch Director | Expert Ranger #279

Lt Col Morgan Torp-Pedersen - Public Affairs Section Chief

Biography coming soon.

Public Information Officer

Maj Heather Weiss - Chief, Standards and Evaluation

Biography coming soon.

Ground Branch Director | Expert Ranger #203

Maj Peter Shuntich - Chief of Safety

Biography coming soon.

Mission Safety Officer | Instructor

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C/Lt Col Kieren Callaghan - Cadet Commander

Biography coming soon.

Ground Branch Director | Advanced Ranger

TBA - Cadet Deputy Commander

Biography coming soon.


TBA - Cadet Executive Officer

Biography coming soon.


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Squadron Leadership

Alpha Squadron (Advanced)



Bravo Squadron (Cadet Basic)



Charlie Squadron (Cadet Basic)

SMSgt Cory Felts

Delta Squadron (Cadet Basic)

Capt Jonathan Dennis

Golf Squadron (Cadet Basic)

Capt Klara Olcott


Mike Squadron (Field Medic)


Romeo Squadron (Ranger Staff Training)


Sierra Squadron (Senior Basic)


Tango Squadron (Team Commanders)

Maj Shawn Cressman

Whiskey Squadron (Field Communicators)

Maj Aaron LaMantia

India Squadron (Incident Leadership)

Col Tom Benckert

X-Ray Squadron (Independent Study)

Maj Jason Tartalone

Hotel Squadron (Aircrew Survival)

Lt Col Brian Porter

Unit Leaders

Training Unit Leader

Maj Jason Tartalone

Communications Unit Leader

2d Lt Susan Wilfong

Transportation Unit Leader

Capt Leander Adams

Meals & Supply Unit Leader

Maj Sharon Sheller

Activity Project Officers

Weekend Ranger Staff Training

Capt Ryan Hoffman

Field Training Exercise

Capt Brandon Webber

First Aid / Communication Weekend

Capt Beata Wirth / Maj Aaron Lamantia

Navigation Weekend

Capt Brandon Webber


Emergency Services Weekends

Capt Matt Chirik / Maj Heather Weiss

Ropes Instructor Courses

MSgt Jason Tartalone

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© 2018 Pennsylvania Wing Civil Air Patrol.