|Hartselle Schools Host Civil Air Patrol Program|
Brian Williams served in the Army for 30 years and 21 days. Now he oversees the Civil Air Patrol program at Hartselle High and Hartselle Junior High. The Decatur native had been involved in Civil Air Patrol prior to his time in the military, and he said he knew he wanted to give back through the same organization that gave him so much. “We had a Civil Air Patrol in Decatur. It meant a lot to me, and it gave me a place to connect,” Williams explained. “I always promised when I got finished, I would go back.”
A volunteer organization, Civil Air Patrol “promotes aviation and related fields through aerospace/STEM education and helps shape future leaders through CAP’s cadet program,” according to its website.
In Hartselle Civil Air Patrol is serving in a similar manner as JROTC. The cadet program has 80-100 students involved, and Williams said it centers on physical fitness, character development, aerospace education and leadership. “What I think I want to teach is the ability to do anything they want. With the right motivation, a little bit of good luck and a good work ethic, you can achieve almost anything,” Williams said.
The cadet program is conducted through classes in the schools as well as activities outside the schools. This summer the squadron went to Camp Shelby, where cadets flew in an Army plane and met with pilots and navigators who chased storms. The cadets have also been to numerous speaking engagements to talk about Civil Air Patrol with the community. “What amazes me is the acceptance and the support the community has given,” Williams said.
Williams said the program has also helped bring students of different groups and affiliations together. “I have students from all the groups. It is the only optional class that they do not have to come together, but they do. That is the great thing I see in Civil Air Patrol classes,” Williams said.
The program also helps the cadets learn to lead healthier lives. “A lot of kids are intimidated by physical fitness. We teach them how to be a little more healthy,” Williams said. “If I can teach them to have a better quality of life by taking care of themselves mentally, physically and spiritually, then that is what we are going to do.”
Outside of taking ownership of their own health and speaking in the community, the cadets are also learning leadership skills in the classroom. Williams said they are first taught to lead by learning to follow and then through gaining leadership experience. “The cool thing about cadets is they lead themselves,” he said. “We teach them how to follow, then they learn the basics and fill leadership positions.”
Williams said he was first inspired to start the cadet program in Hartselle by his daughter. She knew she wanted to become an astronaut and requested his help through the cadet program. “When I was her age I did not even know what I wanted for breakfast, but she knew what she wanted, and she had a plan. I talked to Dr. Jones about starting a program for one night a week and one Saturday a month,” Williams said. “We got more into it, and we decided to do it in the schools.”
Williams said Civil Air Patrol was founded Dec. 1, 1941, as a way to protect the nation from the looming war overseas. Following Pearl Harbor, they began getting more involved and even were able to sink some of the German U-boats. Williams said he always tries to impress on the cadets the tradition they are carrying on through Civil Air Patrol, reminding them, “You have a legacy of heroism.”
|Tennessee Wing Gears Up For Hurricane Florence Response|
The Tennessee Wing Civil Air Patrol is preparing to provide assistance to the east coast in anticipation of Hurricane Florence.
"We have alerted members of the Tennessee Wing and are waiting for deployment orders from the National Operations Center," said Tennessee Wing Commander, Col. Dent Young. "The Southeast Region Civil Air Patrol has set up a virtual incident command post and we have been communicating with members of the Middle East Region."CAP, the volunteer civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force with its headquarters at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, operates the nation’s largest fleet of fixed-wing Cessna aircraft. CAP aircraft provides effective, low-cost options for aerial assessment of disaster areas and other search-and-rescue functions.
"All CAP wings in Southeast Region stand ready to support hurricane recovery efforts, whether on the mainland or in Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands," said Southeast Region Commander, Col. Barry Melton. "We especially want to support the Middle East Region since these folks came to our aid last summer during our response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. We stand ready to provide aerial imagery to state and federal agencies and can provide communications support, either on-site or from a remote location."
Florence, recently downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane, is expected to make landfall tonight or early Friday near the North and South Carolina border. Major inland flooding, dangerous storm surge and destructive winds are expected during what’s predicted to be a slow advance across the Southeast into early next week. Along with the Tennessee Wing, CAP’s Southeast Region includes the Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (St Croix and St Thomas). The Middle East Regions consists of North and South Carolina, Delaware, Maryland, National Capital, Virginia and West Virginia.
|Venice Cadet Squadron's Recruiting Event A Success|
The Student Leadership Academy (SLA)Cadet Squadron held their annual Civil Air Patrol recruiting event. The Civil Air Patrol school squadron set up a booth displaying the exciting events and unique opportunities afforded to members of the school squadron. On display at the booth were STEM kits, pictures of cadets at Summer Encampment, new cadet guides and Aerospace Education curriculum. The SLA Civil Air Patrol cadets who represented the school squadron did so with pride and professionalism. Each cadet wore one of Civil Air Patrol’s three distinct uniforms to show the prospective cadets the various uniforms.
Civil Air Patrol Cadets at Student Leadership Academy meet every day, first period, as part of their middle school class schedule and are permitted to wear their CAP uniforms, instead of the SLA mandatory uniform, every Wednesday, for promotions as well as drill and ceremonies training. “I enjoy being able to participate in activities that the other students do not,” said Cadet A1C Crites.
The annual event was a success for the squadron, recruiting eight new cadets, one Cadet Sponsor Member, and one (pilot) guest speaker. Deputy Commander, Kirsten- Bouchane, and cadets, C/A1C Crites, C/A1C Bartlett, C/A1C Stewart, and C/A1C Dolmanet volunteered for the recruiting event, demonstrating their commitment to the Civil Air Patrol and its core value of community service. When asked why she volunteered to participate in the recruiting event, C/A1C Stewart said with a smile, “I did it to serve my country.” Commander Bouchane commented, “These motivated cadets are the heart of our school squadron will surely help mentor and motivate our newly recruited cadets.”
|Pensacola Cadets Launch Estes Rockets|
The Civil Air Patrol Cadets of the Pensacola Squadron FL-425 launched their Estes Rockets, July the 28th at Fritz Field, Escambia County Model Park, Pensacola Florida. The Cadets learned about rocketry and Estes Rockets as part of their Aerospace Education. This course was taught by 1st Lt. Esley Ottesen, Commander Capt. Mia Ottesen and Capt. James Sams. Gary Lee from the North West Florida Modelers also attended. He spoke to the Cadets about remote control airplanes. The cadets who attended the rocket launch and completed the rocketry course earning their Rocketry Badges are: Cadets Micah Barr, James Green, John Hwang, Jordan Leduc, Jayce Marshal, Margaret Perry, Hannah Perry, Jaiden Muniz-Walls and Jackson Ruggles.
|Jacksonville Composite Squadron Holds Flag Retirement Ceremony|
In honor of the flag of the United States of America, a Flag Retirement Ceremony was recently held by the Jacksonville Composite Squadron. Emceed by Capt. Charles (Chuck) Vaughn, the ceremony began with the reading of the United States Code Title 36, Section 176 which specifies that Old Glory should be destroyed in a dignified way.
Capt. Vaughn introduced two of our Nation’s veterans, Sergeant Reid Harmon USAF (Ret) and Master Chief Robert Johnson NAVY (Ret). Sgt. Harmon served proudly in the U.S. Army Air Corp, later the U.S. Air Force, and he was a Civil Air Patrol Cadet, joining in 1944. Chief Johnson, although not a member of CAP, served his country with distinction, including three trips to the Antarctic in 1939-41 with Admiral Byrd on the USS Bear, 1946-47 and 1948. An unexpected, but welcome guest, was Master Sergeant Thomas Kaye, USAF (Ret) and former CAP cadet during WWII.
Ms. Caroline Adkins from the City of Jacksonville Department of Military Affairs read a Proclamation of Appreciation to Chief Johnson and Sgt. Harmon from Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry. They received letters from Senator Bill Nelson and Certificates of Appreciation from Jacksonville Composite Squadron.
As Cadet C/Capt. Joshua Guathier and C/2d Lt James Sherline folded a flag, Capt. Vaughn shared what each of the folds represents. A new flag was presented to Chief Johnson and Sgt. Harmon.
CAP Senior Member Jeffrey Valin read “My Name is Old Glory” written by Don S Miller. During the ceremony, over 100 flags were properly retired by the Jacksonville Composite Squadron. Cadets showed honor to each flag as they were properly folded and turned over to the flames.
Chief Johnson said the event was very memorable, and he will never forget it. Sgt. Harmon thanked the squadron for honoring the flag.
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