Up Close and Personal at the Punta Gorda Airshow
By 1st Lt Donna Jablonski, Public Affairs Officer, Charlotte County Composite Sqn. | Publish: 11/21/2019

Photo: Cadets from Southwest Florida squadrons had the opportunity to interact with Air Force demonstration teams at local air show. (Photo: 1LT D. Jablonski)


A group of twenty Civil Air Patrol cadets from Southwest Florida created some amazing memories at the Florida International Airshow rehearsal performance on November 1. 

Sitting in the VIP section, the cadets watched with amazement at the accuracy demonstrated by the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command’s "Para Commandos" as they parachuted to the ground. Once on the ground, the team spent time talking with the cadets about their rigorous training program.

The Geico Skytypers (Texan T6) pilots spent a great deal of time with the cadets explaining the fundamentals of their training in preparation for a performance.

The final excitement of the day involved the outstanding performance by the Air Force demonstration team Thunderbirds, several of the pilots took the time to pose for a group photo. Many of the cadets have seen the team perform before and said "this year was spectacular"!

“This is a good example of how the Punta Gorda aviation community embraces the Civil Air Patrol,” said Lt. Col. Milton 'Jim' Kaletta, Commander, Civil Air Patrol Group 5 HQ. “The long-standing and successful relationship stretches back to the 1940's. The invitation this year from air show organizer, Dana Carr, was very meaningful for all who attended.”

The aerospace education opportunities experienced by the typical Civil Air Patrol cadet are very popular. Cadets participate in a wide variety of activities throughout their cadet career, it all starts with the weekly squadron meetings.

During weekly meetings at the Charlotte County squadron, cadets learn how to be a cadet. They study proper wear of the uniform and how to perform precise drill movements as a team. Cadets actively engage with each other in discussions related to moral character and how CAP core values of integrity, volunteer service, excellence, and respect help to guide personal choices. The weekly schedule rotates to include physical fitness training, classroom work on leadership and aerospace education, and more.

The squadron runs activities throughout the year, ranging from camping trips to model rocket launches to air shows. Charlotte County cadets are consistently successful in statewide activities such as the leadership encampment -- an intensive week-long 24/7 immersion into cadet life.

In addition to pilot skills, Charlotte County cadets are also training to complete requirements to participate in CAP Emergency Services operations. Cadets routinely serve as radio operators, ground team members and mission base staffers. Cadets over the age of 18 can also serve on CAP aircrews.

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 JSteele@sercap.us.