And Show Wisdom Beyond Their Years
The "regular Joe" on
the street may have heard about the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), but may
have very little idea of what it actually stands for and why young
people, as young as middle-school-aged, choose to join the CAP as
As a nonprofit auxiliary of the Air Force, the Civil Air Patrol
boasts more than 58,000 members, including those 27,000 cadets. It
flies the world's largest fleet of single-engine, piston aircraft,
and also boasts the nation's most extensive communications
For the young people who make the decision to join, those facts
often don't come into play, however. It's the opportunity for hone
leadership skills, allow themselves more options following high
school, and learn about aerospace and aviation. Sometimes, it's
even by accompanying a friend who didn't want to go alone to a
meeting that does the trick.
Such was the case for 15-year-old Cadet Master Sergeant Angela
Cooper, of Perris, CA, who "joined up" way back in the eighth grade
(she's now a high-school sophomore).
For Angela, the Cadet program of the CAP gives her a head start
for her goal of becoming a politician.
"The Cadet program, is structured and run by dedicated adults,"
she said. Her leadership skills have improved, as have her public
speaking skills. Additionally, her networking opportunities have
given her contacts "around America."
Her family has been supportive, although she noted that they
didn't expect her to come home wearing combat boots. "I think they
had cheerleading and the performing arts in their mind," she
Cadet Second Lt. Iran Quijano of San Jacinto, CA is in his third
year in the Cadet program and has also completed his first year in
AF Junior ROTC at San Jacinto High School.
It is, he says, an "introduction to the military" and gives him
more options after high school, where his interests lie in criminal
justice and law enforcement and the military.
"I've learned how to work with well with others," he said,
noting that he was the type of person who did things by himself.
"You depend on other people to get things done."
The best candidates for the Cadet program, according to Quijano,
are those willing to make something of themselves and who are
committed and goal-oriented.
Cadet Second Lt. Philip Ensley, of Beaumont, CA, is looking to
become a test pilot for the Air Force, following an aviation
college education and AFROTC. A senior in high school, he admits to
being "incredibly obsessed" with aviation and sees the Cadet CAP
program as a doorway to it. He already flies a Cessna 152.
Ensley is also inspired by those who served the country in the
military. Particularly on Veteran's Day -- which it was when ANN
spoke with all the cadets -- he thinks about those who died and
what they died for.