Civil Air Patrol

Wisconsin Wing squadron joins multi-state training event

Photo by Maj. Todd Mandel - Cadet Captain Mike Ebert, La Crosse Composite Squadron, instructs members of Hotel Flight in direction finding techniques.

Bay City, Wis. – Being the western-most squadron in the state creates unique training demands and opportunities.  Eleven members of the La Crosse Composite Squadron spent three days at the Red Wing Municipal Airport located in Pierce County, Wis., learning emergency services skills during the BlackCAP Emergency Services College.

This year marked the twenty-seventh year that the Red Wing Composite Squadron, a Minnesota unit, has hosted the event which drew more than 150 Civil Air Patrol members from three wings. Meeting members from the Minnesota and North Dakota Wings and forging new relationships or rekindling old ones were also a part of the event.

During the three days of training, members completed an extensive list of ground team tasks and participated in a number of ground sorties (mission).  At times the training flights were given notice of an upcoming sortie while other times a it was sprung on the students with no notice.

In the tradition of BlackCAP, advanced cadets staff all of the flight (a smaller subgroup of a squadron) and command staff positions while senior members intermingle within the flight membership.  Cadet Captain Michael Ebert served as the Hotel Flight Commander.

BlackCAP is open to all CAP members and emphasizes training for the advanced as well as the newest member.  Cadet Airman Ahna Giewitz attended her first BlackCAP this year and when asked to describe the event said, “BlackCAP was amazing; I am definitely going next year!”

Besides being a top-notch emergency services school, BlackCAP is perhaps better known for its fellowship and fun.  After training concluded on Saturday the flights spent the evening in the annual “Polecat Competition” where flights compete against one another in team-building games.

One such traditional BlackCAP game is the frog jumping competition.  All BlackCAP attendees are issued a plastic frog; a long-held school custom, and use this frog in the jumping competition.

The weekend concludes with an innovative drill competition and a pass-in-review parade.  This is created and mastered within the 60 hours that the school operates.

“BlackCAP is like no other CAP event” stated Major Todd Mandel, a former Red Wing Composite Squadron member. “If you’ve never been here you should come, and if you do you’ll always want to return.”  This BlackCAP was the tenth for Mandel.

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