Former Vermont Wing CAP Commander Announces Retirement

Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Colonel Richard “Rick” Lizzari, former Commander and long-serving officer in Vermont Wing, Civil Air Patrol, has announced his retirement, effective October 4th as Colonel in the Vermont Air National Guard and United States Air Force. Colonel Lizzari and his wife, Rosemary, will retire to Tennessee where he will continue his CAP service as a member of the Tennessee Wing. 

CAP Col Richard “Rick” Lizzari, receives plaque acknowledging the appreciation of the Vermont Wing, Civil Air Patrol for his distinguished service and leadership. Photo Credit: Vermont Wing, Civil Air Patrol

“Civil Air Patrol has been a large part of my life,” said Col Lizzari,” and it will be how I will continue to serve my community and country after my service in the military comes to an end.”

Col Lizzari began his Vermont Wing career as a cadet from 1979 to 1983, when he joined the United States Air Force and Vermont Air National Guard. He has served as a senior member of the Vermont Wing since 1996, and his tenure demonstrated increased responsibilities as senior officer in the logistics, communications, emergency services and operations directorates. Col Lizzari served as Wing Vice Commander from 2011 to 2015, when he was promoted to Wing Commander. He served a full appointment in that role through 2019.

“Col Lizzari brought a strong sense of service, excellence and vitality to the Wing, and encouraged this organization to flourish and grow, “ said Lt Col Peter Slocombe, Acting Commander of Vermont Wing. “He was always responsive to the needs of our cadets and membership. He drove high standards of performance and behavior, which allowed all of us to succeed in every mission and exercise around the state. All of us, cadets and senior members, who served with Col Lizzari and were mentored by him, are grateful. I cannot overstate the accomplishments, and pride of substantial community service, that Col Lizzari enabled in our ranks. We wish him and his family well in this new chapter of their life.”

In addition to his command leadership roles, Colonel Lizzari has been an active participant in CAP’s emergency services operations as an and Air Operations Branch Director Incident Commander, and Mission Pilot. He has participated in numerous, intensive USAF disaster response evaluations, homeland security sorties, including photo imagery support over the Northeast following Hurricane Sandy.

Lizzari has earned numerous decorations for his extraordinary service, including a Crisis Service Award, Distinguished Service Award, and Air Force Organizational Excellence Award.

Col Lizzari served our nation through a long and demanding career in the Vermont Air National Guard, in many capacities—Operations Officer, Logistics Readiness Squadron Commander, Deputy Commander, Commander of the Mission Support Group, Director of Staff, and other roles. Colonel Lizzari has deployed three times in support of the Global War on Terrorism. In 2002 he deployed to Guantanamo Bay NAS, Cuba and served as the Joint Task Force 160, J4 Logistics Deputy Operations Officer. In 2006 he deployed to Balad Air Base, Iraq and served as the 732nd Expeditionary Mission Support Group’s Director of Staff. In 2011 he deployed to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait and served as the Central Command Deployments and Distribution Operations Center Programs Branch Chief. His was awarded numerous decorations and honors during his Vermont Air National Guard career and was promoted to the rank of Colonel in May 2014.

“Because of Col Lizzari, who, along with his family, sacrificed greatly in his service to Vermont and our nation, the Vermont Wing is better prepared to meet our core CAP missions emergency service, community support, education and youth programming,” said Lt Col Andy Sumner, Chief of Staff, Vermont Wing. “To Col Lizzari, I say: Our membership is in awe of your steady leadership, the example you set, and of your lifelong career in selfless service to the people of Vermont.”