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Civil Air Patrol inspires cadets to become leaders

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Christopher Bowyer-Meeder
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
For many Airmen, joining the military is a result of inspiration. They may be inspired by a family member, a close friend or perhaps just the will to be part of something greater. For others, they experience something first hand that gives them the urge to serve. One organization commonly known for providing that experience is the Civil Air Patrol.

The CAP is a group of volunteers that support the military, as well as the local community.

Founded in 1941, the CAP was started when civilians offered to help the military during the war, according to Col. Austyn Granville Jr., CAP Florida wing winter encampment commander.

"When it comes to emergency services, we have counter drug missions, we've done photo reconnaissance, especially for Hurricane Katrina and the oil spill down in the bay, and we provide aerial photography for agencies like Federal Emergency Management Agency." said Granville. "I was involved with 9-11 when it went down. I was a wing commander in New York at the time, and we were the only ones flying around the United States taking pictures for the government."

When he is not busy supporting other agencies, Granville is charged with overseeing the annual winter training for CAP cadets at Tyndall Air Force Base. Cadets range in age from 12 to 20, and learn military customs and courtesies, as well as basic leadership skills.

"This is a requirement to become a cadet officer," Granville said. "The Air Force has been great in supporting the CAP."

According to an official CAP release, cadets have been briefed by the RED HORSE Squadron and the 435th Fighter Wing F-22 Raptor Squadron commander during their time at Tyndall. Some had the chance to view an F-22 static display and the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center while others got a first-hand look inside the Air Traffic Control Tower and Radar Approach Control facilities.

Cadet Lt. Col. Sean Andino has participated in three winter encampments with the CAP.

"It's the third time I've done it, and I'm in Naval ROTC too." Andino said. "All the lessons I've learned have really helped me in all my military training."

As for his experience this year, Andino has been able to perform duties as a senior leader in the cadet program, and has enjoyed all but one part of his time at Tyndall.

"The worst part was the weather," said Andino.