Civil Air Patrol Cadets Partner For STEM Education
Cadet Technical Sgt. Alec Million and Cadet 2nd Lt. Chloe Shannon providing flight line security detail at the Flight Night Airshow.
(Source: Master Sgt. Faun Daves, Oklahoma Wing)
by Capt. Brandon Lunsford, CAP
Jenks, Okla (September 16, 2021) – On Sept. 11, 2021 Civil Air Patrol’s Riverside Composite Squadron members assisted with this year's annual Tulsa Flight Night Gala, benefiting Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance at Tulsa Technology Center’s Riverside Campus, home of the squadron itself, at RL Jones Airport.
The cadets and adult members assisted aircraft departing the flight ramp as they were taxiing before takeoff. They also maintained a security perimeter around the active flight line, to keep the guests of the gala and the planes present safe.
As stated on their website, “Tulsa Flight Night is a 501(c)(3) sparking the future of innovation in Oklahoma by igniting community support to provide students access to life-changing STEM learning opportunities.”
“Flight Night’s focus mirrors our own,” said 1st Lt. Tamara Shannon, the squadrons aerospace education officer. “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education programs are the building blocks of the aerospace and aviation industries. The future of our city, state, and nation is going to be hugely affected by the technology industries. Coming together to impact our youth in this way is a step in the right direction.”
View of a T-6 Texan waiting to taxi out for takeoff at Flight Night Airshow.
(Source: Cadet 1st Lt. Melia Chandler, Oklahoma Wing)
About 54,000 Civil Air Patrol volunteers across the country lend their expertise and time to help save lives, shape futures, and strengthen education using aerospace and STEM curricula developed by CAP. Civil Air Patrol’s aerospace education programs support community schools, teachers, students and CAP youth through a variety of programs, including curriculum for K-12 classes and study guides, books and special project kits that address aviation, space, cyber and STEM. Special programs range from recognizing outstanding educators to providing teachers an opportunity to see how scientific principles work while flying in a CAP aircraft.
“Having been both a cadet and senior member in CAP,” Shannon said. “I personally know the tremendous positive impact the program can have on youth. It inspires cadets to reach for their dreams and then gives them the tools they need to turn those dreams into reality.”
Cadets were tasked with maintaining the safety and security of the flight line, while performing crowd control duties, giving them an up close and personal view of the air show. Participation in events such as this build a sense of individual responsibility as well as teamwork.
“I enjoyed working with the aircraft,” said Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Steel, the squadrons cadet first sergeant. “I like the aviation aspect of the CAP program and all the experiences that gives you. I also enjoy the cadet programs and drill.”
Cadet Airman First Class Eli Watrous (right) with other cadets providing flight line security detail at the Flight Night Airshow.
(Source: Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Benjamin Steel, Oklahoma Wing)
The origins of the Civil Air Patrol story began in 1936, when Gill Robb Wilson, World War I aviator and New Jersey director of aeronautics, returned from Germany convinced of impending war. Wilson envisioned mobilizing America’s civilian aviators for national defense. The proposal for a Civil Air Patrol was approved by Commerce, Navy, and War departments and CAP national headquarters opened its doors Dec. 1. In January 1942, U-boats started attacking the shipping lanes along our east coast. By June, enemy attacks destroyed nearly 400 merchant vessels and oil tankers off the U.S. Atlantic coastline, often within sight of our shores. Civil Air Patrol was called into action by a short-handed military. With privately owned airplanes armed with light bombs, civilian volunteers became the eyes of the home skies, flying a total of 244,600 hours patrolling and safeguarding America's coastline, aiding the safe movement of war material to the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific. Today’s Civil Air Patrol may look different, but its core remains the same. It continues to support America’s communities with emergency response, diverse aviation and ground services, youth development and promotion of air, space and cyber power.
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About Civil Air Patrol
Now celebrating its 80th year, Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and as such is a member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 single-engine Cessna aircraft and more than 2,000 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and performs about 90% of all search and rescue operations within the contiguous United States as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Often using innovative cellphone forensics and radar analysis software, CAP was credited by the AFRCC with saving 130 lives during the past fiscal year. CAP’s 60,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. As a nonprofit organization, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace education using national academic standards-based STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. Members also serve as mentors to 24,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs.