Maj. Gen. Edward D. Phelka’s choice as Civil Air Patrol’s new national historian is a familiar face — Col. Frank A. Blazich Jr., who led CAP’s National History Program during the commands of three previous national commanders/CEOs.
“Col. Blazich has served with distinction as national historian in the past and has done exemplary work over the last several years as director of the Col. Louisa S. Morse Center for Civil Air Patrol History,” said Phelka, who became CAP’s national commander/CEO in August. “I am thrilled to welcome him back to the role of national historian.”
Blazich’s previous tenure as national historian from April 2013-March 2018, serving under Maj. Gens. Charles L. Carr, Joseph R. Vazquez and Maj. Gen. Mark E. Smith, included several major initiatives highlighting the organization’s origins, history and heritage — most prominently:
- Presentation of the Congressional Gold Medal in December 2014 in recognition of CAP's volunteer service during World War II.
- The 2016 observation of the 75th anniversary of CAP's founding.
- Cadet Programs’ 75th anniversary, observed in 2017.
- Establishment of the Morse Center in 2017.
- The 2018 observation of the 70th anniversary of the public law that made CAP the official Air Force auxiliary.
More recently, he has been a leader in this year’s observation of CAP’s 80th anniversary.
“I am honored and humbled to have had the opportunity since April 2013 to lead and work with a team of dedicated Americans committed to the preservation of the history of a unique and outstanding group of citizen airmen,” Blazich said. “After so many years as part of the National History Program, I am grateful to take part in one last dance to ensure the completion of the Morse Center and to help mentor and train the next generation of CAP historians.”
Blazich, who lives in Northern Virginia, has received five Civil Air Patrol Distinguished Service Awards for his work with the history program. He holds a Master rating as a CAP historian.
He has a doctorate in history from Ohio State University and previously served as historian of the Ohio Wing. He is the editor of Bataan Survivor: A POW’s Account of Japanese Captivity in World War II, and author of 'An Honorable Place in American Air Power': Civil Air Patrol Coastal Patrol Operations, 1942-1943.
Blazich works as a curator of modern military history at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in the nation's capital, and most recently has served CAP as director of the Morse Center.
He succeeds Col. Richard B. Mulanax, national historian for the past 2½ years. Mulanax now becomes national historian emeritus, a title he shares with Col. Leonard Blascovich.