Charlotte County Cadet Squadron Ready for 2017
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
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Photo Caption:
Cadets promoted from Left to Right: C/SSgt Sean B. Staples; C/TSgt Justin A. McDonald; C/CMSgt Samuel J. Greisiger; C/CMSgt Stephen R. Krause; C/Amn1C Chase J. Pedigo and C/Amn Andrew T. Steele.

By Maj. Earle Bretz, Charlotte County Composite Squadron
Punta Gorda, FL--

The cadet squadron of the Charlotte County Composite Squadron, headquartered at the Punta Gorda Airport, did not skip a beat just because it was a new year. The Christmas holiday did not have an effect on their momentum either.

At the first meeting of the year, command of the cadets passed from Major Mikehla L. Hicks to 1st Lt Cooper L. Whitten. Cooper has been a member of CAP for four years. He has moved steadily through the ranks compiling an excellent record of performing at a high level. He is home schooled and presently at the junior year level of high school. Plans include college at FSU majoring in criminal justice and a stint in the Air Force or Army ROTC.

The transition of Commanders should go very smoothly as Cooper is very well trained in all disciplines of leadership. He will now guide the 43 members of the unit consisting of both boys and girls, ages 12-18.

The cadet program is designed to foster leadership and good citizenship in America's youth, using aerospace education, Air Force role models with emphasis on public service. Most of all, it challenges them to learn and grow in ways they may have not had the opportunity to were it not for the program. As each goes through the Motivation Phase, the Learning Phase, the Leadership Phase, the Command Phase and the Executive Phase, they learn and grow in endless ways. Their outlook on life changes. They become more concerned about "others" and working together to achieve common goals.

Seven cadets, who have embraced the Civil Air Patrol program, were promoted on this night to make a special start to 2017.

C/Major Mikehla Hicks (left) turns over the reins of cadet command to 1st Lt. Cooper Whitten.

Article Information
Reviewed by: Maj. Earle Bretz
Syndicated to: Florida Wing, Cadet Programs
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Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Forceís Total Force, which consists of regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees. CAP, in its Total Force role, operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 78 lives annually. Civil Air Patrolís 56,000 members nationwide also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Its members additionally play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program. Performing missions for America for the past 75 years, CAP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit for more information.
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