The Civil Air Patrol will be at the Heights First Church of Nazarene from 6:30-8 p.m. Sept. 29 to demonstrate the leadership skills they’ve been learning during a public open house.
Maj. Mary Fox said most of the CAP cadets at the open house will be from the Albuquerque Heights Composite Squadron, or Spirit Squadron, which she commands, but any CAP squadron can set up a table during the event.
“We are a very active squadron, doing a lot to build leadership skills in the cadets and trying to participate in the community,” Fox said. “The ultimate goal is to get the information out about the Civil Air Patrol because it’s a fabulous program for teaching character development, emergency services and aerospace education.”
She said the average age of cadets range from 12 to 21 years, but older folks can join the program as well. Anyone age 18 and over can join to become a senior member, who often hold command and staff positions and support the squadron mission.
Although not a military program, the CAP is an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and provides similar training. In addition to teaching cadets how to fly, CAP provides search and rescue, disaster relief and homeland security services. According to a brochure provided by Fox, “CAP aircraft were the first non-military aircraft allowed in the air after 9/11. Since 2001, CAP’s emergency services role has been expanded to include homeland security.”
Mitchell cadets can obtain advanced military placement upon completion of Air Force Basic training, starting off as an E-3. Military academy’s also look favorably to CAP cadets, with about 10% of all Air Force Academy cadets having served in the CAP.
“It is a fabulous steppingstone for military academy,” Fox said, adding that CAP is an all-voluntary program that helps to serve the community. “We are such a fabulous organization, yet no one knows about us. We are often referred to as the ‘best-kept secret in the world.”
To learn more about CAP and the Heights Composite Squadron, visit nm083.cap.gov.