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Old 01-25-2018, 11:53 AM
 
Location: East Helena, MT
763 posts, read 478,094 times
Reputation: 2003

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My son just joined the Civil Air Patrol as a Cadet. During the meeting I spoke at length with the Squadron Commander. He said that even though there is lots of funding available for the program, lack of interest in the program from retired officers, especially pilots, has really hurt the program in rural areas. In our area (Montana), most of the senior members are former Cadets that did not go into the military. There has been no interest from retired military. They only have one pilot available, and he is a civilian pilot that was never in the military. They have aircraft available, but really no one to fly. Due to this, the local Cadets are limited in the opportunities they have.


Reading on the internet, I know that in some areas in population centers, some pilots consider it a good ole boys club and want nothing to do with it. It also seems that many people dismiss the program all together as a bunch of spoiled wannabe kids, that JROTC is a better program.


In my state, the schools won't allow JROTC, so young men and women interested in the military/ law enforcement don't have any options to help them. So C.A.P. is the only option. It was kind of sad seeing how bare bones the program is right now. The Squadron Commander has never been in the military, and the Cadet Commander is in ROTC while attending college. They only have one volunteer parent, out of the 13 families of Cadets currently in the program. Now that I know about the program, I will be volunteering, unfortunately due to my disability, I can't sign up to be an officer, as you have to meet current PT requirements for your age.


Have any of you ever considered volunteering for the C.A.P. Cadet program, or flying for them. It seems to me as an excellent way to make a great impression on the next generation of our military/law enforcement community.
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Old 01-25-2018, 10:34 PM
 
8,768 posts, read 10,329,110 times
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In my area, the CAP is not viewed as a "military" anything. It's looked at similar to a search & rescue. With a number of local well known and respected search & rescue groups with both national and international deployment, the CAP isn't well utilized. These local search and rescue groups are called for everything from natural ground disasters to aerial searches. The CAP really has no tactical ability for aerial search operations that isn't addressed by the non military affiliated organizations. And, as you mentioned, it appears to be more a social club versus an educational and response group.

For young people, the ability to touch multiple aspects of search and rescue, aviation and non aviation emergency operations, well, it's just more fun and exciting. Sure they don't get to wear a nice blue uniform and march in parades, but they get more than their share of direct involvement in actual emergencies. I see the CAP unfortunately ultimately going the way of REACT.
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Old 01-26-2018, 03:17 AM
 
Location: Arizona
5,577 posts, read 4,780,727 times
Reputation: 16477
I might be missing something but it is the CIVIL air patrol. Why would being in the military matter?
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Old 01-26-2018, 06:29 AM
 
Location: SW OK (AZ Native)
14,558 posts, read 6,695,389 times
Reputation: 6511
Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkalot View Post
I might be missing something but it is the CIVIL air patrol. Why would being in the military matter?
The CAP is an auxiliary of the Air Force. It is funded in part by the USAF. Being retired military does not matter. Just this week I had a meeting with the CAP about airspace and training within our restricted area (the persons I was contacted by are retired USAF JTACs, one is one of only two pilots), and they perform a lot of tasks previously handled by the Air Force, such as low-level route surveys. They are also able to perform surveillance and reconnaissance for ground personnel using targeting systems in lieu of RPAs (drones) and manned aircraft such as MC-12s, F-16s or A-10s. For a fraction of the cost. They recruited me as well, they need pilots, and it's enticing... a way to get back into the cockpit.


I asked why they only had two pilots, and one reason is that many people believe that all the CAP does is go out and look for downed aircraft and missing hikers. That is only one of their many tasks, which include low-level route clearance, ISR surrogate missions for active duty and reserve component JTACs, and natural disaster surveys.
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Old 01-26-2018, 03:35 PM
 
30,312 posts, read 31,181,855 times
Reputation: 13979
I belonged to the C.A.P. for 22 years and have formally retired from the organization (which one can do with a retirement certificate after 20 years). I am not a pilot but interested in aviation. I trained as a scanner for downed aircraft missions (although I never went out on a real downed aircraft mission.) I wrote articles for my squadron newsletters and helped with the editing of the newsletter. I also volunteered a few times for week long cadet glider encampments where I helped with administrative duties. I think C.A.P. is a great program for youth that are interested in aviation which is one of its prime functions (being that the other prime function is looking for downed aircraft).

Private civilian pilots that want to build up flying hours usually volunteer for C.A.P. as it is cheaper to rent their aircraft than from flying schools. So it is surprising that more private civilian pilots don't join this great volunteer organization.
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Old 01-28-2018, 05:27 AM
 
Location: Amelia Island
2,570 posts, read 3,667,680 times
Reputation: 2337
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericsvibe View Post
My son just joined the Civil Air Patrol as a Cadet. During the meeting I spoke at length with the Squadron Commander. He said that even though there is lots of funding available for the program, lack of interest in the program from retired officers, especially pilots, has really hurt the program in rural areas. In our area (Montana), most of the senior members are former Cadets that did not go into the military. There has been no interest from retired military. They only have one pilot available, and he is a civilian pilot that was never in the military. They have aircraft available, but really no one to fly. Due to this, the local Cadets are limited in the opportunities they have.


Reading on the internet, I know that in some areas in population centers, some pilots consider it a good ole boys club and want nothing to do with it. It also seems that many people dismiss the program all together as a bunch of spoiled wannabe kids, that JROTC is a better program.


In my state, the schools won't allow JROTC, so young men and women interested in the military/ law enforcement don't have any options to help them. So C.A.P. is the only option. It was kind of sad seeing how bare bones the program is right now. The Squadron Commander has never been in the military, and the Cadet Commander is in ROTC while attending college. They only have one volunteer parent, out of the 13 families of Cadets currently in the program. Now that I know about the program, I will be volunteering, unfortunately due to my disability, I can't sign up to be an officer, as you have to meet current PT requirements for your age.


Have any of you ever considered volunteering for the C.A.P. Cadet program, or flying for them. It seems to me as an excellent way to make a great impression on the next generation of our military/law enforcement community.

Thanks for the info about the Civil Air Patrol. My family has had a long history with the navy going back to WWII and had pretty remarkable careers. I unfortunately had physical limitations that kept me from joining the Navy or Coast Guard.

I would have liked to see if my daughters had interest in the navy JROTC but because of a lack of interest it has been dropped by our local HS. They do have a sea cadet program but that is an hour away. I will have to look into our local Civil Air Patrol here when the time comes.

On an unrelated but similar note the Mason's, Shriners, and Knights of Columbus here locally are experiencing a lack of interest in their membership. It was a surprise to see the Masons in the local paper to solicit membership.

Times change and as the younger generation doesn't seem to have the time to put into these organizations like the boomers did and as the boomers fade away these organizations are surely to diminish in size.

I had a friend who while he did not have prior military time he enjoyed the perks of getting flying time being involved in C.A.P
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Old 01-29-2018, 11:11 AM
 
Location: East Helena, MT
763 posts, read 478,094 times
Reputation: 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkalot View Post
I might be missing something but it is the CIVIL air patrol. Why would being in the military matter?

In the CAP Cadet program, they are taught military courtesies, military chain of command, they wear an Air Force uniform. They drill, march, go through mini boot camps. They are taught military navigation with a map and compass, how to set up portable ground communication systems, radio etiquette. They are also taught search and rescue, and they are able to attain rank based on their achievements. They also have the opportunity to attend Air Force schools, such as cyber warfare, robotics, aviation(which will allow them to earn their private pilots license), space, winter/forest survival, UAV flight school, satellite telecommunications, etc.


The volunteers that run the Cadet program would be well served to have been active duty/officer. A young Cadet that starts at 12 and completes the program by the time they graduate, will be able to get a letter of recommendation from the Squadron Commander that will help them get into ROTC, the service academies, etc. In the last 5 years, my local squadron has had 3 Cadets get into service academies, and 4 get accepted into ROTC. The Cadets do allot of volunteer work, and the Squadron Commander can attest to their character, work ethic, attitude. If that letter came from a retired officer, it would bear even more weight. As many former officers can tell you, getting accepted is very hard, every little thing helps.


Young Americans interested in serving their country, or their community, can get a significant advantage by joining. I wanted my children to have the opportunity to get into JROTC, but that will never happen here. I'm glad that I found out about the CAP Cadet program, my son is super excited.
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Old 01-31-2018, 12:13 PM
PFM
 
Location: Endicott, NY
102 posts, read 101,502 times
Reputation: 219
Back in the day earning the Mitchell Award would get you E-2 if you enlisted and the Spaatz would get you E-3. That alone was a good enough incentive for many cadets I knew.
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Old 02-01-2018, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
188 posts, read 191,759 times
Reputation: 482
Quote:
Originally Posted by PFM View Post
Back in the day earning the Mitchell Award would get you E-2 if you enlisted and the Spaatz would get you E-3. That alone was a good enough incentive for many cadets I knew.

I had friends in the CAP Cadet program and I was a U.S. Naval Sea Cadet. At that time both programs had incentives to enlist in the military at either pay grades E-2 or E-3. During our training we learned to march, how to wear our uniforms, military etiquette, UCMJ, General Orders of a Sentry and countless other bits of military knowledge that gave us a big edge when we attended basic training, boot camp or ROTC. Because we were based in Connecticut my Sea Cadet unit trained on the USCGC Eagle (WIX-327). I also got certified as a PADI scuba diver through my unit.

These programs also give a young person a fairly good idea of what the military is all about prior to signing an enlistment contract and taking an oath. After my time in the Sea Cadets I enlisted in the Navy two weeks after I graduated from high school and served for thirty years. Being a Sea Cadet provided me a great foundation for my military career. I had a very fortuitous career and attribute much of my success to the foundation that I had as a Sea Cadet. My buddy that was in the CAP was commissioned as an Army officer and served for thirty years as an Airborne Ranger. Military youth programs provide superb opportunities for young people and can provide them unique experiences that they won't receive anywhere else.
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Old 02-02-2018, 07:38 AM
 
Location: Duluth, MN
515 posts, read 928,986 times
Reputation: 838
Quote:
Originally Posted by PFM View Post
Back in the day earning the Mitchell Award would get you E-2 if you enlisted and the Spaatz would get you E-3. That alone was a good enough incentive for many cadets I knew.
+1. That was part of my motivation for joining CAP. I earned it in 1983. When I went to boot camp in 1986, the Marine Corps. decided to "change its mind" on giving me E-2, going so far as to have a recruiter meet me at the bus station with a new contract for me to sign!

But the whole CAP experience served me much more than the tangible benefit of a single award. And the rank disparity evened itself out rather quickly: guys who were leaving boot camp as E-2's with their one stripe got a very small pay increase over the rest of us. Within 6 months, we were all E-2's and on track to become E-3's at the same time, anyway.
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