Colonel Christopher Ballard
Colonel Christopher is the Commander of the Michigan Wing of Civil Air Patrol (“CAP”). He is responsible for the overall management and execution of CAP’s missions in Michigan and working with its 1,200 members, located in 39 units around the state.
Prior to his appointment as Commander in September 2021, he served as the Commander for the Maj Kevin A. Adams Memorial Composite Squadron and as the Director of Administration and Personnel for Michigan Wing. He has also served as the director of the Johnson Flight Academy.
One of Colonel Ballard’s focuses in CAP has been in bringing STEM to cadets. He has flown dozens of cadet orientation flights and has served as assistant director of the Great Lakes Region E-Tech Academy. He has taught model rocketry to dozens of cadets, and has assisted teams of cadets in both the CyberPatriot Competition and in The American Rocketry Challenge.
In addition to his command leadership roles, Colonel Ballard has been an active participant in CAP’s emergency services operations as a Mission Pilot and Air Operations Branch Director. He has served as an instructor at a number of local and state-wide emergency services training programs. He has participated in over 40 homeland security sorties, and is credited with five distress finds. He has flown numerous disaster relief sorties including participation in two presidentially-declared disasters. During the early days of the Covid emergency, he flew thousands of test kits and tens of thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment to remote parts of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to aid front-line workers there.
Ballard has earned numerous commendations for his service, including two Meritorious Service Awards, numerous Commander's Commendations, and Certificate of Recognition for Lifesaving.
Colonel Ballard is a graduate of the University of Michigan with both a Bachelor of Arts and a Juris Doctor. He is a partner at the Varnum LLP law firm, focusing in the areas of wills, trusts, and nonprofit organizations. He has served as an adjunct professor at both the University of Michigan Law School and at Cooley Law School. Colonel Ballard has served on the boards of directors of many non-profit organizations, including the FIRST Robotics in Michigan board.