Students develop leadership, discipline in Civil Air Patrol

A. Williams, Meteorologist

Seeing 12-year-olds walking around in military fatigues may confuse some people. These students are Civil Air Patrol “cadets,” and students in grades seven through 12 — and even college students — can join.

How many people actually know what Civil Air Patrol is. Most squadrons are held outside of school in the afternoons. ROMS, however, has a school squadron that occurs during and after school. It offers a range of encampment to o-flights. While in CAP, you do not have to make a commitment go into any branch of the military.

To students outside the program like Chloe Wiedemann, CAP appears to be a help guide students’ career choices.

“It is a very mature program that is leading them into their career,” Wiedemann explained.

In CAP, cadets learn an extensive amount of skills that can help them later in their lives. They wear their uniforms, which actually come from the U.S. military, with honor and respect.

For some students, the uniform is symbol of style and status.

“When I see people in their uniforms they look cool and very professional,” Lisa Green, an eighth grader at ROMS said.

CAP is run by the cadets who are a part of the program. They learn leadership then teach it to those who are in our flight. There are even weekend schools students can go to. CTEP starts at ALS, for airman who just received their first strip. Next level would be NCOA this school is for new sergeants. SNCOA is training to be first sergeant. OTS is for officers, and then the last school would be CCSC which is the hardest school to go to.

Encampment is a week-long activity where cadets teach drill, customs and courtesies, and also how to be a better cadet in general. The first day they have to be strict and it’s usually the hardest of all the days.

When you wake up you, have to move fast and do PT. PT is just physical training. The cadets stretch, then run a mile. After that there is a lot of drill. Breakfast order is chosen by who had the best scores from making their bed and uniform check. More drill takes place, then there are classes throughout the day.

The third day is similar to the second: lots of drill and uniform checks. By the last day, cadets fall in one category or the other: you are ready for encampment to be over – or, you want to stay there for another week.  We each perform a skit and officially graduate encampment.

Life skills are also a part of what students do in CAP. A 24-hour hour hike can go wrong without proper equipment. In emergency services, cadets learn how to make a splint or how to pack for 24 or 72- hour hikes. CAP also offers backpacking trips that students can attend. Cadets learn about blood born pathogens and how to use a compass. Cadets even can volunteer for CAP events as part of medical teams or help run the whole event.

In the end, CAP offers so many kinds of things that could help students develop leadership, life and survival skills.