Civil Air Patrol

Catch Up!

hey guys! Good grief, it’s been ages since I’ve had time to sit and write out a blog post.

Hoorah for labor day!

Right so since it’s been about 5 weeks since I’ve given you an update on what in my life is going on, I’ll try and squeeze over  a month of crazy wonder into a few coherent paragraphs.

I showed up in new Mexico when the temperature was about 100-102* F (I don’t carry a thermometer around with me, so I can’t say for certain). It was beautiful. The sky was the bluest blue I’d ever seen, the Commandant came to pick me and about 6 other preps from the airport and take us to the campus.

I stepped out of the van and thought I’d walked into Redwall. All the buildings are built in military gothic style (true style. I learned that at 1st squadron cook out form the superintendent) which basically means pretty castle.

If any of you have seen the animated series Redwall, it looks just like Redwall Abby.

After being completely blown away by the architecture, I got to lug all my luggage up two flights of stairs to my dorm room. Dorm was slightly less impressive, but it’s got a sink and the shower rooms are two doors down. Yes, I have to go outside and walk down the stoop to go to the bathroom or shower. Doesn’t suck yet, but come winter… we’ll see…

It took days for my roommate to get here, and for a while I wondered if I was getting a roommate. This is almost a requirement here because to make the bed properly (military school. Bed making is a must. No wrinkles) you have to take the mattress off the bed, which is on a bunk above the desk. requires two people. And besides, what’s a college experience without a roommate?!

Anyway, got a roommate, she’s awesome, and is prepping for the merchant marine academy (hmm… wonder if she’ll meet Liam there… probably someone here will, there are like 25 preps for MMA).

That was almost two months ago.

I’m into my fourth week of school, just 5 weeks ago from the first grading period.

I’m anxious to keep and/or improve my grades before then.

My two favorite classes are Military History and Chemistry. I looovvveee chemistry. My teacher for chem is considered pretty strict, but she is so passionate about chemistry and teaching us students you can’t help but love her and her classes.

Military history is taught by a retired Air Force officer who used to teach at the Air Force academy. He has no trouble going on and on and on about history, any history. If lunch wasn’t right after his class, I’d have no problem with it being two hours long rather then 1. Actually, he usually goes over by about 20 minutes or so, but I really don’t care, the subject matter is usually so intriguing.

Besides that I have, of course, English (English teacher is one of my favorite teachers. She’s new here, and ridiculously nice), military science, prep orientation (class for service academy preps), chem lab (same teacher as gen chem), and pre calc.

I have plenty of work to keep me busy. And things that aren’t quite work… I’m continuing with Civil Air Patrol, for one thing, and am Deputy commander for the very small very new squadron here. We basically have very little idea what we’re doing because almost all the staff are preps who just got here.

I’m also doing chapel choir.

Besides that, there is the corps of cadets which once I turn a private I can start applying for leadership positions within that as well. Dream job, first Sergeant or Platoon leader. Or platoon sergeant…

Yeah, maybe I’m crazy for trying to do so much… okay, I am DEFINITLY crazy for trying o do so much, but it is within my nature to go for all or nothing.

I should really learn to tone it down a bit…

So yeah, that’s life. Drill, classes, parade practice, homework… oh, and mandatory football games,

The life of a college freshman…. well, a college freshman at a  military school.

Final Note: I apologize for any grammatical errors or inconsistency in this post. All my good English I am bottling up for this essay I have to write in a week.

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Let’s Go Fly a Plane!

Oh wait, I already did!

*murmurs to self* need to find out when I can again…

Hey guys!

How’s life? Or the semi comatose state of being that defines summer? Which ever you happen to be inhabiting at this moment.

So I have been gone for 3 weeks.

I have a good excuse this time though!

I was learning to fly a plane.

Yep, what better excuse is there?

I was also making friends, experiencing cafeteria food for the first time (not horrible… but after 2 meals a day for two weeks you start to feel yuck. I was too hungry most of the time to care. Most of the time…), and did I mention learning to fly a plane?

No, I do not have my Pilot’s Certificate yet. Yes, that means I can not legally fly other people except for my CFI.  No, I will not break the law to fly you to your grandparents.

Right, now that that is out of the way… who want’s to hear about my vacation/ Civil Air Patrol flight school boot camp?!

It was a ton of fun, and not just because of the flying! We had an amazing group of Civil Air Patrol cadets, a couple from the west coast, a couple from the southwest (nothing funnier then seeing a southwest cadet dying of humidity on a perfect day with almost 0% humidity), a couple from the Midwest, and one guy from Detroit.

It was a ton of fun getting to know all of them (and learning their weak spots… particularly Detroit’s… why we all put up with him I’m still not sure…) and learning how not to crash a plane.

Also cards. The card games were long and vicious and occasionally restarted do to a lack of proper shuffling and/or dealing of cards.

Also the music. There were a couple key songs you had to know.

Detroit got the boys started on Single Ladies the first couple days. From there it went to See You Again, Shut Up and Dance, and a few more that I don’t remember the names of, but I remember us rocking out to them in the vans on the way to local AFB and museums.

In the end I think See You Again was the big song of the Academy.

Soooo… yeah, that was most of my vacation/graduation present.

Flying, card games, and dying of laughter several times over.

That’s all for now. I’ll do a more detailed post about a couple big milestones later this week.

What have you all been doing this summer? Anybody else have summer camps? Some big last free summer of your life spectacular in the works?

Things That Stress Me

  1. Getting 24 hours notification that I have to apply for training i had no intention of going to because if I don’t i can’t do this awesome summer thing.
  2. Applying for stuff.
  3. Waiting to be notified about applications
  4. Not doing school.
  5. Not working out
  6. Eating lots of cookies
  7. Not getting replies to very important and time sensitive e-mails.
  8. Not getting e-mails at all.
  9. growing up

Guess what I am doing right now?

  1. Getting 24 hours notification that I have to apply for training i had no intention of going to because if I don’t i can’t do this awesome summer thing.
  2. Applying for stuff.
  3. Waiting to be notified about applications.
  4. Not doing school.
  5. Not working out
  6. Eating lots of cookies
  7. Not getting replies to very important and time sensitive e-mails.
  8. Not getting e-mails at all.
  9. growing up

Diagnosis? 100% Stressed.

Something I Should Have Done Long Ago… and More!

Okay! I have wonderful news!

However, to understand this news, I need to do what I should have done a while back.

An Introduction to Civil Air Patrol

Civil Air Patrol, or CAP (pronounced either C-A-P or Cap as in ball CAP) as it is more commonly known, is an organization founded in December 1942, days before an attack on Pearl Harbor brought the US into World War II. It has grown and developed into the organization it is today, with three main missions.

Emergency Services – We can get called out to look for missing persons or downed aircraft, or to help with natural disaster relief.

Aerospace Education – We help educate the public on the history and lasted advances of aerospace. At the same time, we cadets (and the senior members as well) learn about it ourselves.

Cadet Programs– this is my favorite! It’s for anyone ages 12 – 18 who is interested in gaining more leadership experience and having fun in after-school type activities like Color guard or drill team.

My news is connected with cadet programs, so now I shall expand on it a bit.

CSC

Cadet programs is broken into 4 leadership phases during which cadets learn different skills based on their current rank and phase. It is similar to the Air Force’s chain of command.
Let me show you…

Phase 1
The Learning Phase

C/Amn – C/SSgt

In this phase the focus is to train the cadet in how to be a follower. They are introduced to the core values of CAP and how to be the best cadet they can be.

Phase 2
The Leadership Phase (and my current phase!)

C/TSgt – C/2ndLt

The last phase taught how to follow, and look to your leaders. This phase transitions from being a follower learning to lead, to a leader who knows how to follow.
I hope that made sense…
Basically in this phase you are actually taking on minor leadership roles in which to practice the skills you were learning in phase one.

Phase 3
The Command Phase

C/2ndlt – C/Capt

This phase takes what you learned in phase two and kicks it up a notch. This involves higher leadership roles, more people to work with, and more opportunities to practice everything you’re learning.

Phase 4
The Executive Phase

C/Capt – C/LtCol

Okay, this is a little bit of a mystery phase to me, as my old squadron didn’t currently have anybody above the rank C/Capt during my time there… from what I understand, it’s the transition phase from the cadet program to senior program. The cadets who reach this rank are typically older cadets who are almost or already a college student. This marks the last years of their time as a cadet.
It means more leadership, more work, and I believe (or at least hope… ) greater rewards through life.

Okay! I would now like to direct you attention to the Cadet Super Chart that is hopefully readable near the top.

Looked at it? Okay, good.

What you should have noticed is the majority of the achievements are named for great pioneers in aerospace. I love that about the cadet programs, and so does my former squadron commander.
Every time someone would promote (earn a new rank in the cadet program) he’d quiz them on what achievement (i.e. Curry, Fiek, Lindbergh…) they’ve just earned, and what that person did.

It is my absolute favorite part of promoting.

Now, there are eight achievements that are not named for great aviation pioneers and heroes.
Those would be 9 – 16.
They have been unnamed since the founding of the cadet program.
But now, no more!
CAP nationals is finally looking at naming them. The eight nominees for the unnamed achievements could not be more worthy, and I was actually naming one of them as deserving the achievement before I even knew they were going to name them!
And here they are!

Achievement 9

Colonel Eileen Collins
First female space shuttle pilot

Achievement 10

Gen Daniel “Chappie” James
First African American 4 star general of the Air Force.

Achievement 11

LtCol Nicole Malachowski
First female pilot in the United States Air Force Air demonstration squadron. Better known as the Thunderbirds.

Achievement 12

Col Jeanie M. Leavitt
First USAF female fighter pilot.

Achievement 13

Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman
First African American women to be a licensed airplane pilot.

Achievement 14

Lt Gen Elwood R. “Pete” Quesada
Elwood Quesada was a member of the famous Question Mark endurance crew of 1929.
Quesada was also the first administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Achievement 15

Jacqueline Cochran
Where to start with Jackie… she was the first woman to win the Bendix Trophy Race, the first woman to pilot a jet, first woman to break the sound barrier… she’s probably best known for her role in forming Women’s Air Force Service Pilots, or WASP, program during World War II

Achievement 16

Gen Curtis Lemay
Was commander of the US Air Force in Europe during WW II, during which time he planned air raids over Japan and the Berlin airlift.
He helped form Strategic Air Command, or SAC, and assumed command of the newly formed SAC in 1948 where he laid plans for the ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile).

Alternate Nominees

Alan B. Shepard, Jr.
First American in Space

Col Guion S. “Guy” Bluford
First African American in space

Clarence “Kelly” Johnson
Helped design over 40 of the world’s top aircraft including the U-2 and the SR-71 “Blackbird”.

Now, we are not sure if all eight primary nominees will be approved, they may pull some of the alternate nominees to be used. However, what I am hopeful is that there won’t be a big bureaucratic discussion on it so that those eight achievements can be named, and us cadets can have the fun of rattling off bios every time we promote.

To learn more about these amazing people, go here! Cadet Blog

Now that I’ve shared my news, time to do some internet recruiting. 🙂

Civil Air Patrol is really an amazing organization, and I love being a part of it.
You can do so much, from being a flight commander, to teaching kids how to make paper rockets at an air show.
You learn Air force style drill (marching, column movements, things like that) and compete against and meet cadets from all over the US, and sometimes over seas!
There are camps, and special national level activities you can participate in.
You don’t have to love the military life, or want to be a fighter pilot.
True. most cadets you meet have that life in mind, but not all.
The older brother of one of my old… friends? Acquaintances?… anyway, her brother was the former Cadet Commander of my former squadron. He got accepted to both the Air Force Academy and West Point, but instead went to a nearby Catholic college to study to be a priest.
So you see, it has it’s benefits for those who are considering a military career, but it’s also just a fun group to join.

Check out the following sites for more information

gocivilairpatrol.com

capmembers.com

June Rush Part 2

Alright folks, now here is week two. In case you did not read week one yet… well, just go read Week One real quick. It’s short, I promise.

So, my second week of June Rush took a polar turn from my first week… and that would be my first ever Civil Air Patrol Encampment.
For those who don’t know, Civil Air Patrol is a Youth organization (it’s also the Auxiliary branch of the Air Force, but nobody ever remembers what that means) dedicated to training the Leaders of tomorrow and teaching aerospace stuff and training young adults in Emergency Services. It is seriously awesome, and I’ve been a member for about 9 months.
So Encampment is basically CAP’s summer camp for its cadets. You go and wear your uniforms (we get the Air Force’s old BDU/Camo uniforms from years past. Is that epic or what!) every day. Each morning starts with P.T. (Physical Training) and then you have less then an hour to shower, get in uniform, fall into you flight, and get to the dining hall for breakfast.
I arrived Sunday afternoon in Civvies (t-shirt and jeans) shaking with terror. There have been false info going around that Encampments are like a week of boot camp.
FALSE!!
Encampment is more like a military style summer camp where you are in a flight or team of people who you live and train with for a week learning about leadership and aerospace and all kinds of fun stuff.
In my case, we had classes on the Core Values (Excellence, Integrity, Volunteer Service, and Respect) and how to apply them to leadership.
We had a class on the Aviation History in my state (which I had no idea was so rich!).
Besides that we had AWESOME activities!
We went on a tour of the nearby Military instillation which-shall-not-be-specified.
We went on Black Hawk Rides.
And the best thing ever…
We went rappelling.
Basically it was totally different then what I was expecting.
It was even more AWESOME!!!!!!