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Aerospace educator goes 'above and beyond' with Civil Air Patrol

| Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Captain Alex Ladzinski, Aerospace Officer, Washington County Squadron 601, answers questions about the mechanical components of an airplane's engine from fellow Civil Air Patrol members and students.

Alex Ladzinski has been a member of the Civil Air Patrol, an Air Force auxiliary that assists communities during emergencies, since 2009, a year after his son Andy became involved.

“I've been in aviation all my life,” the Peters resident said. “My son was interested in becoming a cadet, and after my wife and I attended a meeting, a week later, he joined.”

Civil Air Patrol Washington Composite Squadron 601 recently presented Capt. Alex Ladzinski, 62, its Member of the Year award at the unit's annual banquet at the Washington Elks Lodge. Andy Ladzinski, 21, is a senior member in the squadron, which has 39 members.

Ladzinski, the squadron's aerospace education officer, works at the Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin as a quality assurance supervisor for Air Methods Corp., an emergency medical services helicopter operator. He works in maintenance and teaches at the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics.

Lt. Peggy Secunda, public affairs officer for the squadron, said the Member of the Year award is “voted on by all squadron members and awarded annually to a senior member who demonstrates exceptional commitment and service to his squadron, Civil Air Patrol and the community.”

“Alex really goes above and beyond his duties,” Secunda said.

Ed Silassy, squadron commander of the 601 unit since 2009, said Ladzinski's knowledge of aerospace topics is amazing.”

Ladzinski was an Air Force reservist for 20 years, as well as a pilot, before focusing on education. Squadron 601 consists of cadets ages 12 to 18 and senior cadets 18 and up, making Ladzinski's skills a perfect fit.

”I work closely with the cadets and teach them what aerospace is about,” he said.

Anyone interested in becoming a cadet or learning more should contact Silassy at 724-288-2841 or

Chasity Capasso is a freelance writer.

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