Cadet Winter Bivouac Combines Fun and Great Learning Experiences
Thursday, February 23, 2017
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Photo Caption:
Cadet Airman Heston Hartshorn (left) and Cadet Sr. Airman Jackson Touchton prepare a model rocket for launch at the Winter Bivouac. (Photo Credit: Cadet Brynne-lei Radcliffe, CAP)

By Cadet Sr. Airman Natalie Putman, SRQ Composite Squadron
Sarasota, Fla.--On 10-12 February 2017, cadets and senior members from the SRQ Composite Squadron of Civil Air Patrol (CAP) joined members of the Venice squadron for a three-day Winter Bivouac at Camp Shannon in Myakka City, Florida.

According to Capt. Ann Marie Kozloski, SRQ Composite Squadron Deputy Commander/Cadets, “Bivouacs are an important part of cadet experience because it gives the cadets the opportunity to put into practice the things they learn in the weekly meetings. It allows the higher-ranking NCOs to use their leadership skills in a more real world environment than just the classroom. Plus they are a lot of fun and good team building always happens at these events.”

After setting up camp and eating dinner, cadets had a hands-on Aerospace Education opportunity: learning about the partial eclipse of the moon that took place that night and then using telescopes to get a better look at the constellations and Comet 45P.

The second day started off with field games, including football and capture the flag. Following lunch, cadets built and launched model rockets. Some landed in trees and others exploded midair. That evening, cadets worked together to help each other prepare for written tests for promotions.

Cadets spent some time on the final day of the bivouac working together on team building skills, a necessity for working together as a team during a mission.

Asked about the importance of team building, Cadet Airman Matthew Downer said, “Because you have to rely on others to do their job, so you can do yours.”

CAP’s 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: 61 senior members and 35 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 America’s educators. For information about the SRQ Composite Squadron of CAP, visit

Article Information
Reviewed by: 1st Lt. Christopher Carroll
Syndicated to: Region Hq, Florida Wing, Cadet Programs, Group 5, Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters
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Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s 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 Patrol’s 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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