Cadet Matthew Eino Marble promoted to Cadet Master Sergeant
Filed under Group 1 on Saturday, December 3, 2016 by Author: 2nd Lt. Chuck McCollim.

Cadet Matthew Eino Marble was promoted to the grade of Cadet Master Sergeant. This is the fifth achievement in the Civil Air Patrol cadet program. At this point a Cadet becomes a Senior NCO and may be given the billet of First Sergeant, at which time a diamond is placed on the grade insignia.

The grade accompanies the Charles A. Lindbergh Achievement. Charles Lindbergh piloted "The Spirit of St. Louis" on the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Paris on May 20 – 21, 1927. The excitement generated by this accomplishment paved the way for commercial flight. In later years, Lindbergh served science by working on the design of an artificial heart.

To become eligible for promotion Cadet Marble had to be a current CAP cadet; possess a CAP uniform and wear it properly and be capable of reciting the Cadet Oath from memory. He passed an online Leadership test on “Learn to Lead” with a grade of 100%. The test included multiple-choice questions and a section testing his performance in drill and ceremonies. He also passed an online Aerospace Education test with a grade of 100%.

C/MSgt Marble actively participated in a character development forum; two Cadet Orientation Aircraft Flights; the Florida Wing “Camp Blanding” July 2015 Summer Encampment and other squadron activities.

If you are 12 years or older and interested in learning about your opportunities in CAP contact Maj. Staten Corbett at 850 867-4414.

Naples Cadets Community Service On Display At Air Show
Filed under Florida Wing, Cadet Programs, Group 5 on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 by Author: Maj. Marian Motyl-Szary.

Eight cadets and three senior members from the Naples Cadet Squadron traveled to participate at the Florida International Air Show on Saturday, October 22, 2016. Naples Cadet Squadron joined with Lee County Schools Cadet and Charlotte County Composite squadrons in a display of community service at the air show. 

A pre-dawn Naples departure and a full van arrived at the Charlotte County Civil Air Patrol headquarters adjacent to the PGD airport. The cadets discussed that their contribution to the air show would be a new experience available only through CAP. 

The requisite sign-in at HQ completed, Naples joined other CAP cadets to a nearly full room for a safety briefing by Lee County School Squadron senior member Capt. Jonathan Abraham. He described the local weather and gave an overview of how the day was to be organized with locations and breaks. 

Charlotte County Composite Squadron Cadet Commander C/Maj Mikehla Hicks continued with assignments. She reiterated safety, hydration and breaks. Hicks said “We will be in public so be extra vigilant on how we are perceived”. She continued with a description of the duty positions: two security and one aircraft. The two security posts would be fully explained on site. Given that Naples brought eight cadets, Hicks said “Naples will be split across all three positions”. The aircraft area was highly desired because staged there were fighters, trainers, vintage and new air craft. Some were even for sale.

Since this is a new assignment for most Naples cadets they will be under the supervision of posted ranking cadets and senior members from the Charlotte County Composite Squadron. Safety vests were distributed and the group transported to their respective positions.

Florida Wing Group 5 Commander Lt Col Jim Kaletta, often accompanied by C/Maj Hicks, rotated through the posts throughout the day making sure all had water and asked about their welfare. He also transported cadets for scheduled rotation and breaks. 

C/SrA Collin Duke returning from the show said “The best part is that no matter where you stand, you can still see the planes overhead.” 

Late afternoon found all Naples attendees returning to HQ to sign-out and depart. The return ride had everyone discussing their new and different experiences at the Air Show. All agreed the aircraft area was the best.  

1st Lt Donald Binner, 2nd Lt Thomas Ryan, 2nd Lt David Stevens (Photo: 1st Lt Donald Binner)

Wing Commander to Relinquish Command in April of 2017
Filed under Florida Wing, Cadet Programs, Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 5, Group 6, Group 7 on Thursday, November 3, 2016 by Author: Capt. Curtis Hooks.

Florida Wing Change of Command scheduled for 2017

Col. Henry Irizarry announced today that he will relinquish command of Florida Wing in April 2017. Irizarry, who has held the position of wing commander for three years, was recently promoted to a vice president’s position with his employer which in turn comes with increased responsibilities.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as the Florida Wing commander for the past three years,” said Irizarry. “The wing is made up of talented and devoted members who support their state and nation with outstanding volunteer service each and every day. I look forward to continuing to work by their side.”

Irizarry became the wing’s commander in March 2014 after serving in leadership positions with Florida Wing Group 7 and the Tamiami Composite Squadron. He joined Civil Air Patrol as a cadet in April 1988.

Under his leadership, the wing achieved a “highly successful” rating in the compliance inspection and an “outstanding rating” on its most recent biannual operational evaluation by the U.S. Air Force. In addition, a Florida Emergency Services Academy was established and a record-sized wing summer encampment was hosted in 2016.

Last month, the wing’s response to Hurricane Matthew generated more than 18,000 aerial damage assessment photos for federal and state emergency agencies.

“Civil Air Patrol salutes Col. Irizarry for his service as wing commander of the Florida Wing and on behalf of all members in the Southeast Region, we wish him well in his career endeavors,” said Col. Barry Melton, Southeast Region commander.

Civil Air Patrol Provides Valuable Community Service at Air Show
Filed under Region Hq, Florida Wing, Group 5 on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 by Author: Maj. Jeff P. Carlson.

A longstanding relationship between Civil Air Patrol and the Punta Gorda airport is still strong today because of the mutual commitment to the growth of aviation and the dedication to serving the southwest Florida community.

At the end of World War II, a Civil Air Patrol squadron was established at the former Punta Gorda Army Air Field. When the county took ownership of the airfield, the CAP squadron was the first tenant. The volunteer members of the ‘Coastal Rangers’ flew patrols over Charlotte Harbor. More than seventy years later, local volunteer Airmen are still serving their community.

The Florida International Air Show, held October 21-23, 2016, marked the fourteenth year that the local squadron provided supported to one of the country’s top air shows. CAP cadet and senior members contributed more than 2,000 person-hours for the event.

Florida Wing Group 5 commander, Lt. Col. Jim Kaletta, oversees the operations of the all-volunteer organization in Southwest Florida. He said this year’s involvement was “extra special because it marks CAP’s 75th anniversary”.

We’ve been helping the airshow with logistics all week,” said Kaletta. “We had members come up from Lee County and Naples to assist with the Charlotte County squadron's effort.”

Cadets from the Charlotte County Composite Squadron provided the color guard for the opening ceremonies each day. Cadets and senior members helped set up and tear down 100 tables and 3,800 chairs in viewing areas for spectators and the show’s sponsors and performers. CAP members provided assistance at secondary entry points that helped airport tenants to bypass the show’s primary entrance and reach hangars and aircraft more quickly.

The squadron’s headquarters served as an incident command post allowing staff to manage activity in the assigned areas including crew rotation and radio communications. Cadet Major Mikehla Hicks led a team of over two dozen cadets and was responsible for making certain personnel were properly stationed and safety requirements for crew rest were met. Hicks is the current cadet commander for the Charlotte County Composite Squadron.

“Overall, the team performed well. They knew how to do their job.” Hicks explained that the large airport area involved with the show added challenges. “What impressed me most was the timely manner we were able to rotate posted personnel.”

One of the specially equipped Cessna airplanes used by CAP for search/rescue and aerial photography was displayed at the show. Members set up an information table near the airplane and were available to talk about squadron activities.

In return for the services CAP members provide the airport throughout the year, the local squadron receives a reduced rental rate for the building and hangar it uses.

“The airport subsidizes a large amount of our rent for the services each year.” Colonel Kaletta emphasized the “tremendous value” that allows the local squadron to pursue each of CAP’s three primary missions of aerospace education, emergency services and cadet programs in the community.

For many years, the squadron occupied a hangar on airport property free of charge. Over the years, local volunteer members made many improvements to the Punta Gorda facility, most at personal expense. Hurricane Donna damaged the squadron’s facility in 1960. Repairs and upgrades gave another 44 years of service until Hurricane Charlie destroyed the building and hangar in August of 2004.

Kaletta explained that “the FAA changed the rules and no longer allows free rent for our facilities" at the airport. He said the local squadron “would be hard pressed to serve the local community without the support received from the Charlotte County Airport Authority.”

Each year, about 50 local young men women, from 12 years through age 21, are introduced to aviation through the squadron’s cadet program. The program allows young people to progress at their own pace through a 16-step program including aerospace education, leadership training, physical fitness and moral leadership.

The modern day Rangers’ routes of coastal patrols, sundown patrols, and harbor patrols are much the same today as in the 1940’s. The patrol covers all shoreline of Charlotte Harbor; the Myakka River; the Peace River; the Intra-coastal Waterway and environs. Along the more than 100-mile route, aircrews search for boaters in distress, hazards to navigation, and environmental considerations such as oil slicks.

“The local air operations help keep our crews mission ready,” said Kaletta adding that the Punta Gorda airfield served as a forward operations base during CAP’s recent Hurricane Matthew response mission.

“The first flight for Matthew was launched from Punta Gorda. The plane took off as soon as the weather allowed. The aircrew flew along Florida’s east coast surveying for damage and looking for collapsed buildings with trapped victims. They gathered over 8,000 images that were used by emergency management in Tallahassee. ”

Charlotte County Composite Squadron Color Guard

C/Maj. Mikehla Hicks, FL-051 Cadet Commander 

SRQ Composite Squadron Cadets Win Statewide Ultimate Cadet Challenge
Filed under Region Hq, Florida Wing, Cadet Programs, Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4, Group 5, Group 6, Group 7, Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters on Saturday, October 22, 2016 by Author: 1st Lt. Christopher Carroll.

Five cadets from the SRQ Composite Squadron of Civil Air Patrol (CAP) won first-place honors at the Florida Wing’s Ulitmate Cadet Challenge competition, held 14 through 16 October 2016 at Camp Blanding in Starke, Florida.

Senior Member David Taylor, who accompanied the cadets as their senior escort, said, “The competition was important in helping to build confidence and reinforcing the cadets’ ability to work as a team. They were successful because they were dedicated, united, and physically and mentally prepared.” Taylor added that the competition gave the cadets an opportunity to put their skills to work in a “real world” situation.

The cadets representing the SRQ Composite Squadron as the “Destroyers” team included C/Amn Jacob Anthony, C/CMSgt Colt Burch, C/CMSgt Ian Spirduso, C/1st Lt Austin Vore, and C/2d Lt Jesse Yong.

The Ultimate Cadet Challenge (UCC) is an annual event, held by the Florida Wing of CAP, that tests the abilities of cadets in all areas of the Civil Air Patrol mission. Teams of cadets compete for the title of “Ultimate Cadet” against others in the wing. This year’s competition included teams from around the state. Events included Emergency Services activities, obstacle courses, written examination, uniform inspection, drill evaluation, and leadership reaction courses.

Taylor said the weather during the competition proved to be one of the unscheduled challenges. Cadets overcame heat, fog and rain and learned how to operate successfully in less-than-ideal conditions.

CAP’s cadet program introduces young people, from ages 12 through 21, to aviation. Cadets progress at their own pace through a 16-step program including aerospace education, leadership training, physical fitness and moral leadership. Cadets compete for academic scholarships to further their studies in fields such as engineering, science, aircraft mechanics, aerospace medicine, meteorology, and many others. Those cadets who earn cadet officer status may enter the Air Force as an E3 (airman first class) rather than an E1 (airman basic).

Based at the Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport, the SRQ Composite Squadron is one of more than 1,700 Civil Air Patrol squadrons across the nation. The SRQ Composite Squadron includes 102 members: 63 senior members and 39 cadets. Members put general aviation to its best use, dedicated to saving lives, flying counter-drug missions, participating in homeland security efforts, providing disaster relief, advancing young people, and supporting America’s educators. For information about the SRQ Composite Squadron of CAP, visit

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