Thank you for taking interest in our squadron. Hopefully you had a chance to visit our site and get a glimpse of what Civil Air Patrol is about. I want to share with you more details about the cadet program. Kids can join from ages 12-18 and can stay a cadet until they are 21 years old. In the Cadet Program, we offer teens a new perspective of aviation as well as getting a glimpse of the military. Since Civil Air Patrol is an auxiliary to the U.S Air force, teens get to learn all about aerospace from fundamentals of flight all they way to astronomy. Cadets, do get to fly as well which makes the program fun. Cadets get to fly in a small airplane (Cessna 182) and get hands on flying for 1.5 hours. Our cadets get to fly around the Santa Ynez area and also along the Santa Barbara coast.
Not only do they get to learn about aviation, they get hands on learning with the assembly of STEM kits (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). There are many STEM kits out there like, robotics, model rocketry, cyber patriot, etc. Currently, our squadron is finishing the model rocketry kit, where they have to assemble 3 rockets but learn about rocket history. The third rocket is a group built rocket that is a medium size rocket and after completing all the rockets, we get to launch them. Also, on the side, we are doing Cyber Patriot which is a program offered by the Air force, that allows teens to learn how to maintain security integrity on a computer. Today, Cyber Security is a demanding field with many employment opportunities.
If teens are looking at maybe going into the military after high school, the Civil Air Patrol program would be a great start to get a feel of what its like to be in the military. The Civil Air Patrol is part of the Air force total force, so we practice Air force customs. Cadets get to wear air force uniforms such as Air force Blues and Airman Battle Uniforms. Cadets must uphold their standards to wear their uniform as it is a privilege to wear the Air force uniform. With that, they must make sure the uniform looks well kept and worn according to uniform regulations. They will learn to build character and also they will learn how to lead others by following current cadets who are Non Commission Officers who dedicate their time to teach cadets and make sure they are on the right path. “Learning to follow is the beginning of leadership” is the statement for cadets to base their leadership skills on.
Cadets have ranks starting with Airman Basic all the way to Colonel which is an officer position. While they go through each rank they are learning and becoming better leaders. There are 5 phases of cadet leadership. They are called milestones. Two of the most important milestones are the Billy Mitchell and Spaatz Awards. Those who achieve the Mitchell award are promoted to the officer position of Second Lieutenant and this creates the opportunity for the cadet to receive scholarships and a higher military rank if they join the military. Those who receive the Spaatz Award which is the pinnacle of the cadet phases are nationally recognized by higher education, industry and the military. Only 10% of all national cadets make it to the Spaatz award but a majority earn the Mitchell award. Those who enlist in the military and have received the Mitchell Award, will become one rank higher than the others after boot camp.
Overall the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program offers a life changing experience for teens and opens up a lot of career opportunities once they become adults. Our Squadron meets every Thursday from 6pm-8:30pm and meets once a month for an activity on a Saturday. If you are interested please let me know so I can schedule a visits to our squadron. If you have any other questions, please email me at Tyler.Epley@cawgcap.org and I will get back to you ASAP.
Second Lieutenant Tyler Epley
Deputy Commander For Cadets