Civil Air Patrol Visit Stewart-Hunter
Georgia Wing-Civil Air Patrol cadets stand in formation before a Blackhawk simulator ride June 23, in preparation of a briefing during a week-long encampment held on Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield. (United States Army Photo by Kaytrina Curtis)

<b> FORT STEWART, GA</b>-- Disasters like Hurricane Katrina, Rita and Andrew can bring much stress and anxiety to many. The loss of life, property damage and constant worry can send some into a tailspin. During such disasters, help is often times needed for a speedy recovery. Cadets from the Civil Air Patrol are learning how to offer help in times of crisis.

The 56,000 member CAP is a non-profit official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and its main goal is to build strong citizens for the future by providing leadership training, technical education, scholarships and career education.

More than 190 Georgia Wing Civil Air Patrol cadets from squadrons located throughout the state converged onto Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield for their week-long annual encampment June 20-28. The required encampment was an opportunity for the 12-21 year-olds to learn disciplines in leadership, aerospace education, moral leadership and physical training. Along with the classroom time, cadets got orientation rides on Blackhawk and Apache helicopter simulators.

All of the cadets got orientation rides in small CAP, single engine aircraft. Many of the CAPs 22,000 cadets have flown on C130 Hercules, C-17 Globemasters III, KC 135 Stratotankers and CH-47 Chinooks. First time flyer Joshua Barber, a cadet airman from Jackson, Ga., said he enjoyed the realistic feel of the Blackhawk simulator.

"It's kind of real," he said. "You get to move around like you're actually flying."

For some of the cadets, the encampment was the first time they were away from home and though a few found it challenging most found it a rewarding experience. Adult supervision of the cadets is the responsibility of the senior members who also serve as mentors in the CAP. "This week they will learn discipline," said Brad Prater, a senior CAP member serving in Rome, Ga. "For some this is their first trip away from home for seven to eight days. It's going to be a beginning to what we believe is early adult training."

The encampment was set up to replicate a training brigade. In preparation to learn how to be a cadet in the CAP, members start the day around 5 a.m. for PT, similar to what they would experience going through basic training in the military. The scheduled training lasts throughout the day until 9-10 p.m. Cadets who want to progress in rank, must be tested at each level of responsibility.

"If they (cadets) decide to join the air force....and have promoted themselves up through the ranks to 2nd Lt. then they can come into the air force as an E-3 on active duty," said CAP Lt. Col. William Higgins, Augusta Composite.

One of the many responsibilities of the CAP is search and rescue. "If any aircraft goes down in the United States, CAP is contacted," said Prater. "The wing squadron will send out search and rescue teams to help locate the wreckage."

Eighteen year-old CAP Airman 1st Class Danielle Grenevitch joined the CAP through the encouragement of her brother Paul who is also a cadet. Danielle said the encampment will give her a better opportunity to understand some of the struggles Soldiers may have.

"It just feels amazing to know what they go through and to be able to say thank you," she said. "When we are called we are there on the spot doing missions."

With disasters an eminent threat Prater said the need for volunteers is necessary. For more information on the CAP and its activities visit their website www.cap.gov.

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Page last updated Thu July 3rd, 2008 at 16:25