Local Civil Air Patrol squadron plans open house

Down, up: Cadet Chief Greg Wall does push-ups Tuesday as part of physical training at a meeting of the Chilton County Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol. (Photos by Stephen Dawkins / Advertiser)

Down, up: Cadet Chief Greg Wall does push-ups Tuesday as part of physical training at a meeting of the Chilton County Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol. (Photos by Stephen Dawkins / Advertiser)

The Chilton County Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol wants people to know the benefits offered by the organization.

The group has scheduled an open house for 5-7 p.m. Saturday at its meeting place: the Chilton County Rescue Squad building located at 550 Airport Road in Clanton.

The free event will include refreshments, music, demonstrations and the opportunity to talk with cadets about the program.

All are invited.

The cadets are firm believers in the program, which is an auxiliary of the United States Air Force.

Civil Air Patrol history

The following was taken from the CAP website:

“In the late 1930s, more than 150,000 volunteers with a love for aviation argued for an organization to put their planes and flying skills to use in defense of their country. As a result, the Civil Air Patrol was born one week prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

“Thousands of volunteer members answered America’s call to national service and sacrifice by accepting and performing critical wartime missions. Assigned to the War Department under the jurisdiction of the Army Air Corps, the contributions of Civil Air Patrol, including logging more than 500,000 flying hours, sinking two enemy submarines and saving hundreds of crash victims during World War II, are well documented.

“After the war, a thankful nation understood that Civil Air Patrol could continue providing valuable services to both local and national agencies. On July 1, 1946, President Harry Truman signed Public Law 476 incorporating Civil Air Patrol as a benevolent, nonprofit organization. On May 26, 1948, Congress passed Public Law 557 permanently establishing Civil Air Patrol as the auxiliary of the new U.S. Air Force.

“Three primary mission areas were set forth at that time: aerospace education, cadet programs, and emergency services.”

Primary missions

Civil Air Patrol members enjoy a variety of benefits.

At different times, cadets have opportunities to participate in orientation flights; the Civil Leadership Academy in Washington, D.C.; flight simulation; and the International Air Cadet Exchange, in which cadets have the opportunity to travel to other countries and learn about their programs; among others.

Many cadets work toward attaining the General Billy Mitchell Award, which is granted after completion of the second phase of the cadet program. It marks the end of the enlisted phase of the program, as cadets are promoted to Cadet Second Lieutenants upon receipt, and by extension, Cadet Officers.

Encampment is annual, week-long, “high-intensity” training necessary to becoming an officer and receiving the Mitchell Award, according to Cadet Chief Greg Wall.

“I was the drill sergeant equivalent,” Wall said. “The thing most people take away from it is how to deal with a high amount of stress for an extended period of time.”

Wall cited the experience gained in leadership as one of the most significant benefits of CAP.

“It has really made me a better person and a better leader,” Wall said.

With the national CAP headquarters at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, and more than 20 other squadrons in Alabama, CAP offers many opportunities to network.

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