SARASOTA, Fla., -
The following is excerpts from an interview between C/1st Sgt Putman and former Civil Air Patrol cadet, C/2d Lt Douglas Lumpkin who recently received his appointment to the United States Naval Academy.
Putnam: What steps did you take and what are your thoughts?
Lumpkin: “The Naval Academy has been my dream school since the 8th grade and it felt great to accomplish that goal. I made sure that I had very good grades, a heavy course load, experience on varsity sports and a lot of leadership experience. CAP and The STAR Community Youth Development Programs provided the leadership training. You've got to keep your head up and power through. I attended the Naval Academy Summer Seminar and in order to get in, you must train, study, and fill out applications. Overall its long nerve racking process. Waiting on The Naval Academy 's decision was extremely tough. I was super nervous and doubtful the entire time, however, then the moment I learned of my acceptance, it was pure joy.”
The Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program, with the numerous community service opportunities, leadership, character development and emergency services, helps to develop the necessary skills and character to serve at a service academy. Lumpkin is a fine example of how to put all of the training into excellent use; showing that putting your heart and mind into working hard and smart can turn one’s goals and dreams into reality.
Putnam: Do you have any words of encouragement for cadets who want to join a service academy?
Lumpkin: "Well first and foremost, stay out trouble. That’s the easiest way to not even be considered by a Service Academy. Secondly, you've got to keep your head up during the application process. First semester of my senior year is difficult because of all these applications necessary, but you've got to power through. Lastly, I'd advise all cadets who want to attend a Service Academy to stay in CAP for a leadership experience. CAP is a great place to learn how to lead, which looks great on your resume and is an important life skill."
Putnam: “Do you miss Civil Air Patrol?”
Lumpkin: "I do miss CAP. I enjoyed being there every Monday and it was a great learning experience. All the cadets should cherish their time in the squadron."
Lumpkin visited a recent CAP squadron meeting before shipping out. Many of the cadets found the visit bitter-sweet. They had to say good bye to a friend, at the same time see him begin an exciting journey.