Col. Bruce B. Heinlein has been selected as the next commander of Civil Air Patrol’s Middle East Region, which includes the organization’s Delaware, Maryland, National Capital, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Virginia wings.
Heinlein, who lives in Pasadena, Maryland, currently serves as Middle East Region vice commander, after previously serving as commander of the National Capital Wing. He will succeed Col. John Knowles, whose term as Middle East Region commander ends this fall.
“Col. Heinlein’s superb CAP career is mirrored in his professional career,” said CAP National Commander Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, who made the appointment. “He had a highly successful Air Force career, retiring as a colonel, and subsequently served in government at the Senior Executive Service level. He is now active in the aviation industry, in addition to his CAP duties.”
Heinlein joined Civil Air Patrol in November 2004, serving in three CAP wings — Texas, Nebraska and National Capital — and two regions — North Central and Middle East. He commanded at the squadron and wing levels before becoming Middle East Region vice commander in 2017.
As National Capital Wing commander, Heinlein oversaw significant membership growth and increases in missions for the District of Columbia. He also led the wing’s participation in CAP’s Hurricane Matthew response. Since then, he has participated in the Middle East Region’s responses to hurricanes Harvey and Maria. Previous disaster relief efforts included hurricanes Sandy and Rita and the 2011 Missouri River flooding, as well as the 2005-2006 Texas-Oklahoma wildfires.
He is an instructor pilot, mission pilot, check pilot and incident commander and was named the National Emergency Services Academy’s Outstanding Graduate in 2011.
In the U.S. Air Force, Heinlein commanded at the flight, squadron and group levels. He received the Legion of Merit (Air Force) award, as well as numerous meritorious service and commendation medals as part of his enlisted service before becoming a part of the Senior Executive Service.
He currently works as deputy program manager of FlightSafety International and as a pilot for New World Aviation.