Maj. Gen. Edward Phelka
Maj. Gen. Edward D. Phelka
Edward D. Phelka is the Chief Executive Officer/National Commander of Civil Air Patrol. He leads CAP’s more than 56,000 members across the United States in fulfilling the nonprofit organization’s three primary missions of emergency services, cadet programs, and aerospace education. In its role as the Air Force auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol also is a member of the Total Force, filling a critical role in Defense Support of Civil Authorities that includes preserving life, relieving suffering, and providing training support.
As Civil Air Patrol’s 25th National Commander, General Phelka is a Major General (two-star), the highest-ranking CAP officer. He serves as Civil Air Patrol’s Chief Executive Officer and as an Advisor to the CAP Board of Governors, the organization’s governing body. He also leads the CAP Command Council, whose members serve as his advisors, and the CAP Senior Advisory Group (CSAG).
General Phelka was appointed CEO/National Commander by the Board of Governors on May 21, 2021, and assumed command on Aug. 26, 2021, in a Change of Command Ceremony in Detroit, Michigan. Before the promotion, he served as National Vice Commander from September 2017-August 2021, advising the CEO/National Commander and the Board of Governors on CAP operational and policy issues as a member of the Command Council and CSAG. Previously, General Phelka served as Commander of CAP’s Great Lakes Region, beginning in March 2015. He was responsible for leading the region’s six wings, including his home state of Michigan. Before that, he served as National Controller — CAP’s principal adviser on financial accountability and logistics. He held that role from August 2011-January 2015 after commanding the Colorado Wing from December 2007-April 2011.
A resident of the Greater Detroit area, General Phelka joined CAP as a Michigan Wing cadet in 1987, earning the General Carl A. Spaatz Award in 1993. Following transition to senior membership in CAP, his assignments included three years as Commander of Michigan Wing’s Livonia Thunderbolt Cadet Squadron and two years as Commander of the Southeast Michigan Group, Director of Cadet Programs in both the Michigan and Colorado wings, and Chief of Staff for the Colorado Wing.
General Phelka is a commercial, multi-engine and instrument-rated pilot, Certified Flight Instructor, CAP Mission Pilot, Cadet Orientation Pilot, and Check Pilot Examiner with more than 2,200 flying hours. Outside CAP, he spent 15 years in leadership roles within the airline and software industries and works as a Certified Flight Instructor and Corporate Pilot.
He and his wife, Dr. Amanda Phelka, have two children, Daniel and Katherine.