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Wing Commander

Commander - Colonel Elizabeth Sydow

Col. Elizabeth "Liz" A. Sydow assumed command of Civil Air Patrol’s Virginia Wing on April 10, 2021. In this position, she directs CAP efforts state-wide, overseeing 22 squadrons and 2,000 volunteers throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Col. Sydow joined CAP as a cadet in 1978, progressing through the cadet program and earning the General Carl A. Spaatz Award in 1987, CAP’s highest youth program award. She is a 1988 distinguished graduate of Pennsylvania State University’s ROTC program. 

Prior to assuming her current position, Col. Sydow served in a variety of roles at the wing level including vice commander, chief of staff, and plans and programs officer. She has also served as a cadet programs officer, squadron deputy commander for cadets, professional development officer and squadron commander in four different wings.  

Col. Sydow is a CAP liaison officer at the National Response Recovery Center, recently serving during Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Florence.  She has served eleven times on the staff of encampment, a week-long training program for CAP cadets. She served as commander and deputy commander, as well as planned four of the events as project officer. She has planned three wing conferences, one of which was a joint conference with another wing and region with 500 participants.

She is a retired Air Force colonel, serving on active duty as a civil engineer from January 1989 through February 2000 before transferring to the Air Force Reserve.  Her active duty service includes positions on squadron and major command civil engineer staffs and as an instructor of readiness and engineering management at the Civil Engineer School at the Air Force Institute of Technology.  

As a Reservist, she served as an Individual Mobilization Augmentee at squadron, group, and major command; as a Traditional Reservist on a Civil Engineer Staff Augmentation Team; and as an Active Guard/Reserve officer in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.  She served on active duty tours including Commander, 90th Civil Engineer Squadron; Deputy Commander, 90th Mission Support Group; Deputy Commander, 50th Mission Support Group; and on the Air Force Space Command civil engineer staff.  She retired from active duty on 1 January 2016 after 27 years of service.

Col. Sydow is married with three children. 


1988 Bachelor of Science, Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, PA
1993 Masters of Science, Technology Management, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, SD
1993 Squadron Officers School (residence), Maxwell AFB, AL
2005 Air Command and Staff College (non-residence), Maxwell AFB, AL
2008 Air War College (non-residence), Maxwell AFB, AL
2012 Advanced Joint Professional Military Education, Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, VA


Defense Superior Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Achievement Medal
National Defense Service Medal with one device
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Air Force Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Air Force Longevity Service Medal with five oak leaf clusters
Armed Forces Reserve Medal with hourglass and 2 “M” devices


Exceptional Service Award with two devices
Meritorious Service Award with three devices
Commendation Award with seven devices


Command, Master Rating
Cadet Programs, Master Rating
Professional Development, Master Rating
Personnel, Master Rating
Finance, Senior Rating
Administration, Senior Rating


Planning Section Chief
Air Operations Branch Director
Ground Branch Director
Ground Team Leader
Logistics Section Chief
Mission Observer
Mission Scanner
Mission Radio Operator
Mission Staff Assistant


Joint Qualified Officer, Level III
Air War College “Excellent” Graduate (non-residence), 2008
Gill Robb Wilson Award, 2008
Yeager Award, 1994
General Carl A. Spaatz Award, #836, 1985
Second Degree Black Belt, Tae Kwon Do, 2016

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