SRQ Composite Squadron Cadets Take Aerospace Education to New Heights
By Cadet Brynne-Lei Radcliffe, SRQ Composite Squadron, Florida Wing | Publish: 3/8/2017

Photo: Flanked by senior members 2d Lt. Jack Duich (far left) and Capt. Ann Marie Kozloski (far right), cadets prepare to take their completed rockets to the launch site. (Photo Credit: Cadet Brynne-lei Radcliffe, CAP)

Sarasota, Fla. -- On 25 February 2017, the SRQ Composite Squadron of Civil Air Patrol (CAP) hosted a model rocketry day to help cadets work toward, and in some cases complete, their rocketry badges, a part of the Aerospace Education program.

At the end of the day, Cadet Melissa Nepomuseno-grez said, "I learned how to officially launch a rocket and how to prepare the engine." She added that she took away some important safety lessons.

The day began with model rocket construction at the Lee Wetherington Boys and Girls Club of Sarasota County. Model-rocketry skill sets ranged from Phase 1, fizzy rockets, to more advanced multi-stage rockets. Once complete, the cadets added their own artistic flares and personal touches with spray paint, from jet black and dazzling blues, all the way to bright neon orange.

Following lunch, the cadets headed to Sarasota Military Academy Prep in Sarasota with their rockets for launching. C/1st Lt. Austin Vore's rocket traveled out of sight, crossing a field and lake. The nose section of C/A1C Caeden Moore's rocket found its way into a nearby lake. After several tries, Cadet Nepomuseno-grez made the recovery from the lake. In spite of a strong wind, cadets recovered all of their rockets.

After several launches and lots of wadding paper (a key ingredient in making for a successful rocket recovery), the cadets called it a day and headed back to the Boys and Girls Club.

CAPís 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 96 members: 60 senior members and 36 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 Americaís educators. For information about the SRQ Composite Squadron of CAP, visit

Cadet Melissa Nepomuseno-gre developes her rocket-building skills. (Photo Credit: Cadet Brynne-lei Radcliffe, CAP)

"And we have lift-off!" C/SSgt. David Colon's rocket blasts off. (Photo Credit: Cadet Brynne-lei Radcliffe, CAP)

This article was produced from the Southeast Region Online News system. Electronic distribution is made possible through syndicated services. For more information, contact the Chief Editor Lt Col Judy Steele at