Civil Air Patrol Youth Learn Leadership and Aerospace at Summer Encampment
Cadet Capt. Sydnie Burrus (center) attaching the honor flight ribbon to a flight guidon staff with (L-R) Cadet Captains Melia Chandler and Benjamin Mullen observing in formation. (Source: Capt. Brandon Lunsford, Sr. CAP)
by Capt. Brandon Lunsford, CAP, Oklahoma Wing
CAMP GRUBER, Okla. (July 25, 2021) – Civil Air Patrol adult and cadet members from around the country descended upon Camp Gruber, an Oklahoma Army National Guard training facility in Muskogee, Oklahoma July 24 2021. Over 120 members are in attendance at the wing’s eight-day annual training encampment.
Civil Air Patrol Summer encampments serve as leadership laboratories. It offers cadets the opportunity to further develop leadership skills under the careful supervision of highly trained adult leaders. Additionally, cadets are offered the opportunity to explore the aerospace sciences and related careers, commit to a habit of regular exercise and solidify their moral character.
“Encampment is one of the most formative experiences a cadet can and should have,” stated Cadet Capt. Sydnie Burrus, who is serving as cadet commander for this year’s event. “You learn a lot about who you are, as a follower and a leader.”
Cadet command is the ultimate challenge for a cadet officer. It is an enormous test of leadership skill, especially one’s ability to articulate a vision and point all cadets toward meaningful goals. The position stands at the epicenter of the encampment: the cadet commander is the most visible cadet, a role model for the entire cadet corps, and the liaison between the senior staff and the cadet staff.
“We are going to have a fantastic encampment,” stated Lt. Col. Brandon Welch, this year’s Encampment Commander, the senior officer in charge of the weeklong event. “We have a lot of leadership exercises and aerospace activities scheduled, like model rocketry where we will build and launch rockets into the sky. The two things I am really excited about are the obstacle course on the 29th and the orientation flight day scheduled for the 30th.”
Civil Air Patrol’s orientation flight program, part of its Youth Aviation Initiative, gives cadets the chance to take the controls and fly the aircraft. In fiscal year 2020 (under the restricted operating environment of the COVID pandemic), CAP, AFROTC, and AFJROTC cadets flew a combined total of 19,184 orientation flights.
Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force, which consists of regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees.
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. In its Total Force role, the Civil Air Patrol operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 90% of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions.
Follow the adventures of Oklahoma Wing at Facebook.com/OKWGCAP
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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.