Maine's Dan Leclair Assumes Command Of Civil Air Patrol's Northeast Region
By Capt. Robert Stronach, PAO
WINDSOR LOCKS, CT - Col Dan Leclair of Minot, Maine is the new commander of the Civil Air Patrol's nine-state Northeast Region.
A former Maine Wing commander, Colonel Leclair succeeds Col Chris Hayden, another former Maine Wing commander. Colonel Hayden steps down after four years as commander of a region that encompasses the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. A Change of Command Ceremony recently took place here at the New England Air Museum.
As the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) mentors cadets, promotes aerospace education, and engages in emergency services such as search-and-rescue and disaster relief.
Colonel Leclair said he believed strongly in CAP's capabilities, from the three congressionally chartered missions -- emergency services, cadet programs and aerospace education -- to the new "old" Homeland Security role, which echoes back to CAP's World War II beginnings.
Simply put, "we are the best professional volunteers in this country, and we support each other in getting the mission done" -- such as in the aftermath of last fall's Hurricane Sandy, he noted, when ground teams helped the Red Cross ship supplies to devastated areas and air crews took 158,000 photos for FEMA, creating a damage-assessment photo mosaic of the eastern seaboard.
Colonel Leclair has served in numerous capacities during his time in both the active duty Air Force and as a volunteer in the Air Force Auxiliary. He enlisted in 1972 and completed initial training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas at the Cryptographic Systems School. After completing the training, he was assigned to the 13th Air Force Special Security Office at Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines as a cryptographic specialist. He was then assigned to the 3250th Technical Training Wing (AETC) at Lackland AFB where he served three years as a cryptographic instructor, eventually becoming an AETC master instructor.
In 1978 Leclair was assigned to the White House in Washington, DC with the White House Communications Agency (WHCA) as a watch officer in the White House Presidential Communications Center. His duties consisted of providing the President with direct command and control of both conventional and nuclear U.S. military forces. After four years at the White House, he was promoted to Chief of Technical Security for WHCA where he provided the President and traveling White House with technical security services for over 10 years. He has traveled with three Presidents on over 500 presidential missions in this capacity. He retired from the Air Force in 1992 and returned to Maine in 2000.
After returning to Maine, Leclair joined the Civil Air Patrol and served in the 77th Composite Squadron as the professional development officer, deputy commander, and squadron commander. He served as Maine Wing director of professional development, plans & program officer and wing vice commander before being appointed wing commander in 2009. He has managed national programs for CAP, serving as the director of the National Flight Academy and as a project officer for Wreathes Across America. He is a 1000-hour search-and-rescue and counter drug mission pilot and an incident commander.
His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster, Joint Service Commendation Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Air Force Good Conduct Medal with one silver oak leaf cluster, National Defense Service Medal with one bronze star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal with one bronze star, numerous Civil Air Patrol Exceptional Service Awards, Meritorious Service Award, numerous Civil Air Patrol Commanders Commendation Awards, and the Presidential Service Badge.
His professional awards include the Gen. Chuck Yeager Aerospace Education Award, Gil Rob Wilson Professional Development Award, and he has completed the Civil Air Patrol's Northeast Region Staff College and National Staff College.
Colonel Leclair is a consulting engineer and director for a national security firm with offices in 70 cities in the United States. He has been married to Pamela (Rowe) Leclair for 37 years. They live in Minot, Maine with their three dogs.
Col Dan Leclair with his personal Cessna 172