FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. – Serving in the Civil Air Patrol’s National Capitol Wing, which encompasses the Washington, D.C. area, is a Courtney Family affair.
Dean Courtney II is a sophomore at Chesapeake Math and IT (CMIT) Academy South, joined the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) when he was 12 years old, and is currently serving as the cadet deputy commander at the Tuskegee Composite Squadron in the National Capitol Wing; his father, Dean Courtney, is a resource manager for the 780th Military Intelligence Brigade (Cyber) and is the Squadron’s character development instructor; and his mother, Victoria Courtney, serves as the Squadron’s deputy commander of cadets.
Courtney II was recently honored as the CAP National Cadet NCO of the Year in 2020, started a rifle flow team called the DMV Drillers, and placed fourth at the National High School Drill Team Championships, Masters Level Demilitarized Solo Exhibition.
“I joined the Civil Air Patrol back in 2016. I was fortunate enough to be selected to an NCSA (National Cadet Special Activity) in 2019, which is the Honor Guard Academy, and a more local special activity which is the Honor Guard College (HGC), both of which started me on the track of rifle flow,” said Courtney II. “I remember leaving HGC, and that day, on the car ride home, just looking up any type of videos I could find for it so I could start training and just practicing any time I could.”
Courtney II remarked that his form of armed exhibition drill is beginning to be called rifle flow because ‘drill’ is such a widely used term and there are many various forms of drill. He explained the proper term for his discipline is rifle flow and it’s both an individual and team event.
“I recently started a drill team during COVID called the DMV Drillers – DMV Drillers is open to and applies to anyone who drills in the DMV (D.C., Maryland, and Virginia) area,” said Courtney II. “I’m also part of another team called Capitol Drill, which is more local. We have a few different members that are both adult and cadet, such as JROTC, and we all try to help each other. Two of our members are part of the Old Guard’s U.S. Army Drill Team.”
Courtney II said both teams are on Instagram, and anyone interested in rifle flow can contact either the DMV Drillers or Capitol Drill.
“I’d like to continue with drill because it keeps me entertained, it gives me an activity, it’s a good workout, and the community in drill, not just in the DMV, but throughout the U.S., it’s very supportive. We all support each other, everybody is rooting for everybody,” said Courtney II.
The reason Courtney II initially joined CAP was because, ever since he could remember, he wanted to join the military. His future goal was to be a Naval Aviator and he felt the CAP was a great option in preparing him to be a pilot and for a military career; however, after completing the Honor Guard Academy and College, Courtney II is thinking about pursuing a different military career track.
“Recently, I started thinking about enlisting in the Army after I finish high school, either going infantry or medic, and trying to reach the Old Guard and become part of their drill team,” said Courtney II. “After a few years with the Old Guard, I hope to apply and become a warrant officer-select and fly helos (helicopters), Blackhawks.”
Courtney II has done his research and says that the CAP will provide an opportunity for those that join and attain the rank of cadet second lieutenant.
“CAP is a really great program, especially if you’re looking into a military career and your school doesn’t have JROTC program, and even if it does, CAP is a really great program,” said Courtney II. “If you want to join the military and go enlisted, if you join Civil Air Patrol and you reach, what they call the initial reward, which is your cadet second lieutenant, you can enlist in the Air Force as an E3, with an advance in salary. On top of that, a lot of colleges look to see if you’ve gone into the Civil Air Patrol.”
Victoria said she and her husband Dean joined the Civil Air Patrol shortly after their son because the Squadron needed some help.
“They needed more senior member support, so we joined and kind of went all in and went through the senior member track, working on the cadet side,” said Victoria. “Our goal, not just for our son Dean, but for the Civil Air Patrol cadets in general, is to offer as many opportunities as we can and get them to as many places as we can so they can participate in activities.”
As the Squadron’s deputy commander of cadets, Victoria is focused on providing opportunities for all the Squadron cadets. In addition to rifle flow and preparing cadets for a potential military career, CAP offers orientation flights for cadets where they can fly a Cessna airplane, a myriad of STEM activities, and a variety of community outreach events.
“There are so many opportunities for the cadets in CAP where they can go out and participate in the community events,” said Victoria. “We’ve participated in Wreaths Across America, we’ve met Senator Susan Collins, done an honor guard event down at the Defense Intelligence Agency headquarters…”
“We’ve done a couple of parades for some of the cities in our local area, working with the honor guard, we’ve posted the Colors at various retirement ceremonies, as well as for the Gold Star Families, Air Force Memorial, and the former Air Force Chief of Staff,” added Dean.
Dean added that the CAP also serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force and the CAP’s National Capitol Wing participates in exercises with Homeland Security and emergency services.
“Disasters, disaster recovery, the CAP gets trained to do search and rescues, there are actually a lot of things we’re doing in support of the U.S. Air Force, as well as part of the DHS,” said Courtney.
“There are opportunities to meet individuals on the military, the civilian political side that you might not get otherwise, and every opportunity that we can bring as many cadets as possible to an event, that is our goal, that has always been my goal, to open that for everybody,” said Victoria
Victoria and Dean Courtney fully support their son, his future goals, and their Wing.
“There are different areas, but for us, we have always wanted to support him and that means supporting the Civil Air Patrol,” added Victoria. “We’ve spent a lot of time with CAP.”
“Whatever he wants to do,” said Courtney. “I do a lot on the character development side, but it’s all about supporting the cadets, it’s all about what we can instill in them while we support the community. It teaches leadership.”
The Courtney Family believes leadership is one area of importance that the CAP really emphasizes.
“I remember when I first joined, I was a quiet little kid and I didn’t talk very much,” said Courtney II. “(CAP) has really focused on my leadership, they have molded me to the point where now I am fortunate enough to be cadet deputy commander for my squadron. It is a really great job, it’s fun, you work with a lot of people, you get to build new relationships, and it can take you far into your future and your career.”
“Definitely big on leadership,” added Victoria. “I would say the Civil Air Patrol, especially in our squadron, it’s a leadership squadron, and every cadet is serving in some type of leadership capacity, and they have opportunities to stand in front of a group and teach blocks of instruction.
“We heavily rely on the cadets to teach the other cadets the leadership, the drill, the protocols, all of that, and really let the senior members kind of step aside and be there to guide, because the cadets are going to listen to each other more, and they see as the cadets are rising up in rank, they want to emulate that, there’s a level of professionalism, and so, there’s a high drive to be competitive and professional in the organization. So, you see the cadets work hard to earn their ranks, to earn their grades, and then to earn a position in leadership, it’s very important to them.”