Main Content

Chief of Staff - Missions

Colonel Rickey Oeth, CAP serves as the Great Lakes Region Chief of Staff for Missions.  He is responsible for supervising all mission related region staff members. He is a member of the Great Lakes Region Promotion Board, the Great Lakes Region Awards Committee, and sits on the Great Lakes Finance Committee. In addition, he chairs a national working group whose charge is the rewriting of the Specialty Qualification Training Record for Incident Command System General Staff positions.

Prior to the Great Lakes Region Chief of Staff for Missions position, Colonel Oeth previously served as the Interim Great Lakes Region Vice Commander for Support and as the Illinois Wing Commander where he was responsible for ensuring that the 1,300 members and the 35 units were actively engaged in the three missions of Civil Air Patrol. As Wing Commander he had a successful tour of duty meeting or exceeding flight time requirements, maintaining wing membership during a period where the national organization was experiencing a critical loss in membership, and passing all major inspections such as the Compliance Inspection, Staff Assistance Visits, Survey Audit, and Wing Financial Analyst (WFA) reviews. Illinois Wing was among all of the Great Lakes Region Wings to receive the AFNORTH Air Force North/1AF Commander’s Award (2012) for the Most Meritorious CAP Homeland Security Mission in recognition for its members who participated in Super-storm Sandy. He continued the practice of taking cadets to the February legislative day (Walk-the-Hill) in Washington D.C. where they briefed Congress members or their staff on Civil Air Patrol’s budget request.

He has commanded at the Group and Wing level and has also served as the Illinois Wing Vice Commander, Illinois Wing Chief of Staff, and Illinois Wing Logistics Transportation Officer. Prior to serving at the Wing and Group levels, Colonel Oeth served in two squadrons as an emergency services officer, communications officer, and professional development officer.

A member for over 40 years Colonel Oeth was named as the Illinois and Great Lakes Region Senior Member of the Year in June 2007, earned a Life Saving Award in 2008, and has numerous Civil Air Patrol decorations.

Colonel Oeth serves as a CAP Incident Commander (IC1) and holds many additional ICS/NIMS qualifications including Operations Section Chief, Planning Section Chief, Liaison Officer, Ground Operations Director, and Urban Direction Finding Team Member.  He has served as an Incident Commander for more than 10 years including the demobilization Incident Commander for Civil Air Patrol’s response to Hurricane Katrina.

In 1999, Colonel Oeth attended the National Emergency Services Academy which was the start of a long enduring relationship. Colonel Oeth has risen through the ranks of the academy as a student, instructor, Curriculum Coordinator, Deputy Commandant, then finally as the Commandant of the Incident Command Staff School. Under his leadership the school has revised the curriculum and steadily grown. Turning the National Emergency Services Academy (NESA) into the premier Incident Command System (ICS) training institution for Civil Air Patrol, Colonel Oeth’s vision is to expand courses beyond the normal two week training at Camp Atterbury, Indiana.  This vision became reality in January 2017 when the first class of Chaplain training covering the new ChESS (Chaplain Emergency Services) curriculum occurred at Maxwell AFB. There the first class of 19 ChESS Chaplains and 1 Chaplain Support Specialist graduated.  His efforts have also yielded dividends during the two week NESA training as student attendance grew over 100% from 2016 to 2017.

Colonel Oeth was born in East Saint Louis, Illinois.  He joined the Civil Air Patrol as a cadet in the Galesburg Composite Squadron, Illinois Wing, in 1976.  As a cadet he earned the second highest cadet achievement award, the Eaker Award (retro-active) and attained the rank of Cadet Lieutenant Colonel.  He has also earned CAP's highest senior training award, Gill Robb Wilson #2259 in 2004.

Outside of Civil Air Patrol he has many interests and affiliations. He is a member of National Association for Search and Rescue, President of the Scott Memorial Chapter of the Air Force Association, the Illinois Air Force Association State Vice-President for Aerospace Education, and a member of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Professional Music Fraternity.  He is also a Technician Class Amateur Radio Operator (KC9OEE). 

In his private career, Rickey Oeth is the Technology Coordinator for the Sparta Community School District #140.  He is holds the A+ and N+ CompTIA computing certifications.  Colonel Oeth is married to Master Sergeant Teresa Oeth, USAF Retired.  They have a beautiful daughter Alysha, a Doctor of Physical Therapy and one son, Cody who is attending South East Missouri State University majoring in Cyber Security. 


2012 Executive Safety Course and TTT Course

2012 Region/Wing Commanders School
2011 Inspector General Senior Course

2005 National Emergency Services Academy Incident Command Advanced Course

2003 National Staff College

2001 Great Lakes Region Staff College

2000 AFRCC Search Management Course

1998 Master of Music Education, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana

1997 Master of Music in Trumpet Performance, Southern Illinois University

1985 Bachelor of Science in Music Education, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana



  1. December 2000 – June 2004Commander, Group 12 Headquarters Illinois Wing
  2. June 2004 – February 2008Chief of Staff, Illinois Wing
  3. February 2008 – January 2012 Vice Commander, Illinois Wing
  4. January 2012 – February 2016 Commander, Illinois Wing and CAP National Board/Command Council Member
  5. February 2016 – September 2017Chief of Staff, Group 1 Headquarters Illinois Wing
  6. September 2017 – January 2018Vice Commander, Great Lakes Region
  7. January 2018 – PresentChief of Staff for Missions, Great Lakes Region


  • Incident Commander (IC1)
  • Liaison Officer
  • Operations Section Chief
  • Planning Section Chief
  • Ground Operations Branch Director
  • Logistics Section Chief
  • Urban Direction Finding Team Member
  • Finance Admin Section Chief
  • Mission Staff Assistant


USAF Organizational Excellence Award Ribbon

Distinguished Service Medal

Exceptional Service Award (Two Awards)

Meritorious Service Award (Two Awards)

Commander's Commendation (Two Awards, including National Commander Commendations)

Life Saving Award

Gill Robb Wilson Award #2259

Air Search and Rescue Award (Two Awards)
Cadet Special Activity Award (Thirty Awards)

Encampment Ribbon (Seven Awards)

International Air Cadet Exchange Ribbon



1st Lieutenant – March 1983

Captain – July 1999

Major – March 2001

Lieutenant Colonel – March 2005

Colonel – January 2012

© 2022 Civil Air Patrol. All rights reserved.