Venice Cadets Reach New Heights With STEM
Filed under Region Hq, Florida Wing, Cadet Programs, Group 5 on Saturday, December 16, 2017 by Author: Lt. Col. Jeff P. Carlson.

Cadets from the Student Leadership Academy School Cadet Squadron recently practiced their aerial skills with unmanned aircraft as part of Civil Air Patrol's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program.

The aerospace education training is made possible through collaborative efforts between CAP and Air Force STEM outreach efforts. The quadcopter kit is one of 15 STEM kits offered. The kits come at no cost to approved recipients and are designed to enhance current CAP educational curriculum and programs.

“The STEM kits that Civil Air Patrol provides for the cadets are invaluable to our aerospace education program,” said Deputy Commander, 2d Lt. Andre Bouchane. “It really captures the cadet’s interest and encourages participation."

To prepare to take control of an unmanned aerial vehicle, the Academy's cadets completed a ground-school study on flight principles, mechanics of flight controls and the ethics of flying drones.

On ‘fly day’, two teams of cadets -- each with their own UAV -- were tasked with successfully completing four basic maneuvers; a smooth and level takeoff, flight not to exceed 10 feet in the air, a successful hover and landing on a designated landing spot.

Bouchane explained that the CAP Aerospace Education Excellence (AEX) program offers engaging and interesting hands-on aviation and space-related STEM activities. The quadcopter activity is one of six AEX activities scheduled by the squadron for this year’s aerospace education training. Future activities include: model rocketry, weather systems, flight simulator training, and actual flight training in a CAP Cessna aircraft.

“The cadets readily adapted to the learning and some performed all four flight maneuvers with fighter pilot-like precision,” said Bouchane.

“I am thankful to the Civil Air Patrol,” said cadet Ian Riccardi. “My CAP aerospace education instructors give me the opportunity to do things I don’t normally get the opportunity to do.”

Academy cadets are pictured with 2d Lt Andre Bouchane while they explore UAVs. (Photo credit: Capt M. Kirsten-Bouchane)

Academy cadets Riccardi, Allis, and Domingo-Heart watch fellow cadets fly drone. (Photo credit: Capt M. Kirsten-Bouchane)

Cadet Squadron Helps Launch Local Holiday Season
Filed under Florida Wing, Group 5 on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 by Author: Lt. Col. Jeff P. Carlson.

Cadets from the Student Leadership Academy Cadet Squadron participated in Venice’s 42nd annual Holiday Parade.

Three senior members and 21 Cadets met at the middle school on Venice Island to decorate the float and prepare for the festive parade. The Civil Air Patrol unit is one of two school squadrons located in Southwest Florida. The unit provides the charter school with STEM education and extracurricular activity.

It only took the cadets one hour to adorned the Civil Air Patrol float in gold garland, red and white lights and American flag balloons. Cadets from the CAP squadron were dressed in several different uniforms to represent the multi-faceted elements of a school squadron.

The parade float was pulled by a red Jeep driven by Senior member 2nd Lt. Andre Bouchane. With the float decorated and members in uniform, the team was ready to roll. All that remained was some pre-parade advice from the squadron’s cadet commander, EJ Smallwood; “Just like the Madagascar Penguins, smile and wave boys!”

“The cadets are accustomed to looking straight forward while marching in parades,” said squadron commander, Capt. Madeline Kirsten-Bouchane. “Riding on the float gave a new and improved perspective to parade participation.”

“It was an amazing night,” said Cadet Elizabeth Noland! “Riding on the float was a different perspective; we got to see the kids’ faces light up as we rode by.”

Members of FL-804 prepare for holiday parade.

CAP Teams Maintain Mission Readiness After Busy Storm Season
Filed under Region Hq, Florida Wing, Cadet Programs, Group 5 on Monday, November 27, 2017 by Author: Maj. Marian Motyl-Szary.

The Marco Island, Naples Senior, and Naples Cadet Squadrons of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) conducted a Search and Rescue Exercise (SAR/EX) on the 18 – 19 November 2017 at the Marco Island Executive Airport (KMKY), with 26 members actively participating in the many sorties over the Everglades and Marco Island area.

The airport manager authorized CAP to use several rooms in the airport terminal for training following the destruction of the Marco Island squadron’s airplane hangar by Hurricane Irma.

“We are thankful for the relationship we have with the airport and the generosity of Justin Lobb, the airport manager,” said Major Bob Cooriveau, Commander of Marco Island Squadron.

“We operated our Radio Mission Base, mandatory for all CAP missions, out of the temporary station at the South-end of the airport terminal building. With these added support facilities, the SAR/EX was a complete success.”

Two specially equipped aircraft, one from Marco and one from Naples, flew eight air missions over the period of two days. In addition, a ground sortie was performed on Sunday that included advance aircraft reconnaissance.

Cadets from the Naples Cadet squadron participated in the training with guidance and supervision from ground team leader Captain Eric Havens. A coordinated effort between the aircrew and ground team found the exact location of the emergency signal beacon used to simulate a crashed aircraft.

Real world search and rescue missions and training exercises are essential activities performed by CAP. The emergency services teams use a variety of search techniques to look for downed aircraft; boating vessels in distress; Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) signals; downed and lost helicopter simulation and other targets of interest.

Aerial photography is another common task. During this weekend’s sorties, many high-resolution, geotagged reconnaissance photos were taken by the CAP photographers using handheld and wing-mount cameras.

Corriveau commented after the conclusion of the exercise, "This was a very timely exercise especially with the arrival of our snowbirds. It allowed us to update our procedures and refresh our skills".

“With the establishment of a temporary radio station and hangar for our aircraft, the Marco Squadron is able to continue to provide services to Marco Island and Collier County and to host SAR/EX missions in Southwest Florida. We are mission-ready and continue to perform our weekly Wilderness Coastal Patrols as well as assisting with training missions in support of Homeland Security.”

“While Irma destroyed our hangar, we are moving forward. Our hangar debris has been cut away and removed from the building and surrounding area – the site has been cleaned up and is ready for reconstruction. Next step is rebuilding the hangar.”

Charlotte County Squadron Supports Local High School Aviation Program
Filed under Florida Wing, Cadet Programs, Group 5 on Sunday, November 19, 2017 by Author: SM Donna Jablonski.

The eleventh annual Fly-In at Buchan Field in Englewood was recently held to support the Lemon Bay High School Aviation Program. For the ninth year, the event was supported by the Charlotte County Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol headquartered at the Punta Gorda Airport.

Squadron members set-up an information and recruiting table under a canopy to meet and greet the inquisitive.

“It is amazing that after 76 years of performing missions for America throughout the states and territories, CAP continues to be an unknown with much of the general public,” said Major Earle Bretz.

“It is functions like this and the Air Show in Punta Gorda the same weekend, where we also had a table and aircraft exhibit, that afford us the opportunity to get our message across to the folks. We were again successful with quite a few people and youngsters stopping by to give us a chance to tell them our story 1941 to 2017.”

At Buchan, the venue at the airport also changed because Sarasota County and FEMA were utilizing the old location east of the runway for Hurricane Irma "debris storage" and the show staging area was now west of the runway. It proved to be a more accessible and larger area for all concerned- cars, aircraft and vendors alike.

Representing the Charlotte County CAP squadron included:
Cadet Lt Col Mikehla Hicks; Senior Member Donna Jablonski; Senior Member Albert Losacano and Major Earle Bretz.

CAP is the Congressional Gold Medal winning Auxiliary of the United States Air Force, celebrating its 76th year of serving America. Tax deductible donations may be sent to Charlotte Squadron, 28000 A-21 Airport Road, Punta Gorda, FL 33982-2452.

'So Many Wounded and So Much to Do'
Filed under Region Hq, Alabama Wing, Florida Wing, Georgia Wing, Mississippi Wing, Tennessee Wing, Puerto Rico Wing, Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 by Author: Southeast Region Public Affairs.

Linda Pugsley said she will be carrying the banner of all who served in the nation’s military while serving as grand marshal in this weekend’s Veterans Day Parade.

But the chaplain/ lieutenant colonel will have a special affinity for Vietnam veterans, who she said got a rough homecoming when they returned from the war.

Pugsley, who will also be guest speaker at the memorial service to follow the parade, volunteered for the Vietnam War and served two tours as an Air Force flight nurse. There she treated and helped evacuate the wounded from June 1968 to July 1969, and again in 1972.

Pugsley said the memories of those she cared for will be in her mind during the parade.

“It’s kind of a bittersweet thing,” she said. “My heart’s going to be full.”

Retired Col. Curt Ebitz, member of the Aaron A. Weaver Chapter 776 Military Order of the Purple Heart, met Pugsley earlier this year when she was the keynote speaker at the 12th annual Purple Heart ceremony.

Ebitz said she made a big impression on everyone there and was a natural choice for grand marshal.

“She was such a well-received speaker (that) her name came up right away,” Ebitz said. “She’s a very inspirational speaker. She doesn’t pull any punches. She says what’s on her mind.”

Broken Hearts

A native of Massachusetts, Pugsley graduated from nursing school in 1966 and was working as an R.N. trauma nurse at Boston City Hospital when she chose to join the U.S. Air Force Reserve. After basic training and flight school, she was ready to go to Vietnam.

There were plenty of nurses and physicians on the ground, she said, but few in the air. She wanted to change that.

“It was extremely intense in the fall of 1969 due to the number of casualties. We were evacuating 10,000 wounded per month,” she said.

Patients were loaded onto C-141 cargo planes and flown for several hours to major care facilities in Japan or the Philippines, Pugsley said. The survival rate for wounded soldiers in Vietnam was only 70 percent.

“Heavy-duty nursing care was required for the trips,” she said. “If they could walk onto the plane they were considered lucky.”

Flight nurses would accompany the wounded across the Pacific to the U.S. where they were admitted to hospitals as close to their hometowns as possible, Pugsley said.

“There were just so many wounded and so much work,” she recalled. “We knew their lives would be severely affected but you didn’t have time to mourn or grieve for them. We nurses had to stuff a lot of our feelings just to be able to concentrate on keeping them alive.”

"As the saying goes, ‘Men got Purple Hearts and their nurses got broken hearts,’” she said.

Still Active

After the war, in 1978, Pugsley resigned her position as a flight nurse with the rank of major to pursue a career in the ministry. In 2003 she was ordained and is currently an associate pastor at Great Hope Christian Fellowship in Tampa, where she lives.

At age 71, Pugsley said, “I feel good and still run marathons.” She also remains a chaplain in the USAF Auxiliary/Civil Air Patrol, and works mostly with veterans in five counties.

“It’s like coming full circle,” she said. “As a young flight nurse I tended to the physical wounds of soldiers. Now, as a chaplain, I tend to the spiritual and emotional wounds of vets.”

There is a bond that forms between those who share the horrific experiences of war, Pugsley said.

“It transcends everything. And it never goes away,” she said.

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