Civil Air Patrol launching 70-year cadet celebration in Baltimore
600-plus CAP members to attend Annual Conference and National Board meeting
MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. – More than 600 Civil Air Patrol members are gathering in Baltimore this week as the U.S. Air Force auxiliary officially wraps up its yearlong 70th anniversary celebration with all eyes on its high-flying cadet program.
CAP officially celebrates the 70th anniversary of its cadet program in October of this year, but gets started early at the 2012 Annual Conference and National Board meeting Aug. 21-25 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront.
“We gather in Baltimore to revel in the successes of our cadets – in flight, in public service and as leaders in the public sector,” said CAP National Commander Maj. Gen. Chuck Carr. “Truly, each of the candles on this year’s birthday cake burns bright with the accomplishments of literally hundreds of thousands of young people who have gone on to do themselves and their country proud.”
As part of this milestone observance, CAP’s cadet program is front and center at this year’s conference, hosted by the Maryland Wing. Aug. 25 will be Cadet Day, offering young CAP members an opportunity to explore careers with the CIA, find out how to get selected for the U.S. Air Force Academy, build and operate robots and learn about remote-controlled aircraft. They also will get a chance to meet aviation legend Col. Mary Feik, a Life Member of CAP from nearby Annapolis. A recipient of many aerospace honors, Feik is an aviation engineer and aircraft restorer who was inducted into the Women in Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame in 1994.
Among other special guests for the conference is retired Air Force Brig. Gen. and former CAP Cadet Col. James A. Jaeger, who now serves as director of commercial and international cyber systems at General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems. He will be the keynote speaker for the awards banquet on Aug. 25. Jaeger earned CAP’s highest cadet honor – the General Carl A. Spaatz Award – in January 1969 while a cadet in the organization’s Wisconsin Wing. As Spaatz award recipient No. 80, he is in rare company. Only two out of every 1,000 CAP cadets have earned the award.
Other CAP members will be honored for their service during an Awards Recognition ceremony, also on Aug. 25. Honorees include Cadet of the Year Capt. Dominique D. Litchford of Virginia and Senior Member of the Year Col. Virginia P. Keller of Oklahoma. Several CAP units will also be recognized, including the Maryland Wing’s Bethesda-Chevy Chase Composite Squadron, which was selected as the 2012 Squadron of Distinction.
Members will attend 15 preconference workshops customized to fulfill their unique professional development needs. Many of the workshops focus on new CAP technology, such as operation of the auxiliary’s new Geospatial Information Interoperability Exploitation Portable go-kits, which feature self-contained communications equipment and other hardware that allows for real time or near-real time full-motion video, digital imagery and in-flight chat capability. A Cessna G1000 Ground School is scheduled as well. In addition, 60-plus learning labs are planned for Aug. 24-25. The mini-seminars target topics of interest to members, such as disaster relief, finance, homeland security, communications, safety, aerospace education and public affairs.