Student Civil Air Patrol program takes flight
While some middle-school students
spend their free time playing video games or watching television, a
recently chartered organization at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany,
is giving future Airmen the opportunity to experience crossing into
the blue as Civil Air Patrol cadets.
Unlike ROTC, the cadets' involvement is not graded as a part of
their schoolwork. They volunteer their time and efforts to learn
The cadets, ages 12 to 21, observe what goes on during flight
among many other important skills such as knowing how aircraft are
built and interpreting radio signals and frequency transmissions,
Staff Sgt. Karyn Kazimer said. She is the CAP deputy commander here
who leads 19 cadets in learning about flight, service and
"Cadet orientation flights allow children to accrue hours toward
their private pilot's license," said Sergeant Kazimer, a 606th Air
Control Squadron satellite communications reservist.
CAP experience also helps prepare youth for a future Air Force
"The cadets test and make rank just like in the Air Force,"
Sergeant Kazimer said. "In order to progress in rank, the cadets
must pass an aerospace education test, leadership drill and
ceremony, and successfully pass a physical training test.
"My biggest goal is to give kids the avenue of discipline and
teach values," she said. "Overall, character enhancement is what
I'm looking for."
As a former cadet, Senior Airman Shaun Reed, cadet program
officer here, knows the benefits of the values learned through this
"From a personal standpoint, it shaped my life in making better
decisions when I was younger," said Airman Reed, of the 52nd
Equipment Maintenance Squadron. "From the age of 14, I participated
and made my decision to join the Air Force. Along with other more
mature decisions I made when I was young, I reflected lessons
learned while a cadet in the (CAP) program."
The national CAP holds several
activities for the cadets. Some of these opportunities include
search-and-rescue mission schools, space school and a weeklong
"encampment" program designed to give cadets the opportunity to
explore specialized areas of the CAP mission.
"The program gives kids a sense of accomplishment. It is so
self-paced that what they put into it is what they'll get out of
it," Airman Reed said. "It's a chance to explore your own areas of
interest that normal kids on the outside really can't do."
Cadets excelling in the program can progress from airman basic
to master sergeant, with additional benefits for high-school
"It's good college scholarship material," Sergeant Kazimer said.
"There is more than $200,000 in college scholarships awarded to CAP
For CAP cadet Will Biasotti, 17, participation in the program is
a dream come true.
"I joined CAP because the commander said they learned to fly
planes, do solos, it would look good on college applications, and I
wanted something else to do," he said. "All I've ever dreamed about
is becoming a pilot since I was 6. This is one step closer for
Sergeant Kazimer and her team have been hard at work providing
opportunities, such as touring the air traffic control tour and
experiencing A-10 Thunderbolt II and F-16 Fighting Falcon
simulators, for the CAP cadets to get hands-on experience in the
"The kids love the organization," Sergeant Kazimer said. "They
like the discipline, (and) it's something different (from) team
(ANN salutes Lynn Sabol, 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs,