NCRegionCol. Thomas B. Theis, North Central Region vice commander, will soon take over command of the seven-wing region from Col. John O’Neill, whose four-year term ends June 1. 

Maj. Gen. Edward D. Phelka, Civil Air Patrol’s national commander and CEO, announced Theis’ appointment Feb. 26. 

”I am enormously pleased to welcome Col. Theis to region command,” Phelka said. “His extensive knowledge across numerous mission areas, as well as his depth of command experience, have prepared him well to lead the members of the North Central Region.” 

Theis is no stranger to CAP command, having served as Minnesota Wing commander from 2008-2011 and then the last eight years as region vice commander.

MNwingHe also has led nine Minnesota Wing squadrons and a group unit in Minnesota during his 43-year CAP  career — the Bloomington (1981), Viking (1983), North Hennepin (1987), West Metro (1990), Valley (1991), 130th (2005), St. Cloud (2014), Alexandria (2016) and Fort Snelling (2021) squadrons and Group III (1987). Several of the squadrons were start-up units.  

Theis’s responsibilities as region vice commander have included assisting O’Neill with the leadership and guidance of region staff and the commanders of the lowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota wings. 

“I am both excited and proud to have been selected to follow in Col. O’Neill’s footsteps and to represent the members of North Central Region,” Theis said. 

The region includes more than 4,500 members, over 1,900 of whom are cadets. 

In addition to his position as vice commander, Theis also serves on the region level as chair of the Command Selection Advisory Committee, which interviews candidates for wing command. and is a National Headquarters volunteer staff member coordinating six National Cadet Special Activity-level glider flight academies. 

He has also served a two terms as a Minnesota Wing inspector general and one as North Central Region inspector general. 

Outside CAP, Theis is a retired 20-year Department of Defense civilian employee and  a 20-year Vietnam-era veteran in the U.S. Air Force. 

AFA_Symbol_AFA_Color with TextHe is also a Federal Aviation Administration-licensed fixed-wing and commercial helicopter pilot. 

Recognized as the Air & Space Forces Association Outstanding CAP Senior Member of the Year in 2023, Theis serves as executive vice president of the association’s Gen. F.W. Rawlings Chapter in St. Paul.