Charlotte County Composite Squadron (FL-051)
Charlotte County Composite Squadron, is one of several squadrons serving under the command Florida Wing Civil Air Patrol. As a composite squadron, the unit’s membership consist of both cadet (12-21 years old) and senior members (18 years old and older).
This squadron performs the tactical application of all three of Civil Air Patrol’s Congressionally mandated missions: Aerospace Education, Emergency Services, and Cadet Programs.
Following World War Two, the role of the Civil Air Patrol in servitude to its citizens needed redefining. On May 26, 1948 the 80th Congress passed Public Law 80-557 permanently establishing the Civil Air Patrol as the auxiliary of the newly established U.S. Air Force.
CAP’s aerospace education efforts focus on two different audiences: volunteer CAP members and the general public. The programs ensure that all CAP members (seniors and cadets) have an appreciation for and knowledge of aerospace issues. To advance within the organization, members are required to participate in the educational program.
Aerospace educators at CAP’s National Headquarters at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., provide current materials that reflect the highest standards of educational excellence. Aerospace education is divided into two parts: internal and external.
The internal aerospace education program has two parts as well: cadet and senior. Cadets complete aerospace education as one of the requirements to progress through the achievement levels of the cadet program. Senior members have a responsibility to become knowledgeable of aerospace issues and the AE program that CAP provides.They are further encouraged to share the information obtained with their local communities and school systems.
CAP’s external aerospace programs are conducted through our nation’s educational system. Each year, CAP sponsors many workshops in states across the nation, reaching hundreds of educators and thereby thousands of young people. These workshops highlight basic aerospace knowledge and focus on advances in aerospace technology. CAP’s aerospace education members receive more than 20 free aerospace education classroom materials.
To learn more about CAP’s aerospace education programs, products, and other resources available to our members, go to www.capmembers.com/ae. For information about joining as an aerospace education member (AEM) and to join online, go to www.capmembers.com/joinaem.
While there are many youth oriented programs in America today, CAP’s cadet program is unique in that it uses aviation as a cornerstone. Thousands of young people from 12 years through age 21 are introduced to aviation through CAP’s cadet program.
The program allows young people to progress at their own pace through a 16-step program including aerospace education, leadership training, physical fitness and moral leadership. Cadets compete for academic scholarships to further their studies in fields such as engineering, science, aircraft mechanics, aerospace medicine, meteorology, as well as many others. Those cadets who earn cadet officer status may enter the Air Force as an E3 (airman first class) rather than an E1 (airman basic).
Whatever your interests-survival training, flight training, photography, astronomy-there’s a place for you in CAP’s cadet program. Each year, cadets have the opportunity to participate in special activities at the local, state, regional or national level. Many cadets will have the opportunity to solo fly an airplane for the first time through a flight encampment or academy. Others will enjoy traveling abroad through the International Air Cadet Exchange Program. Still others assist at major air shows throughout the nation.
Search and Rescue
Perhaps best known for its search-and-rescue efforts, CAP flies more than 85 percent of all federal inland search-and-rescue missions directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fl. Outside the continental United States, CAP supports the Joint Rescue Coordination Centers in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Just how effective are the CAP missions? Nearly 100 people are saved each year by CAP members.
Another important service CAP performs is disaster-relief operations. CAP provides air and ground transportation and an extensive communications network. Volunteer members fly disaster-relief officials to remote locations and provide manpower and leadership to local, state and national disaster-relief organizations.
CAP has formal agreements with many government and humanitarian relief agencies including the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Coast Guard.
CAP flies humanitarian missions, usually in support of the Red Cross-transporting time-sensitive medical materials including blood and human tissue, in situations where other means of transportation are not available.
Air Force Support
It’s hardly surprising that CAP performs several missions in direct support of the U.S. Air Force. Specifically, CAP conducts light transport, communications support, and low-altitude route surveys. CAP also provides orientation flights for AFROTC cadets. Joint U.S. Air Force and CAP search-and-rescue exercises provide realistic training for missions.
CAP joined the “war on drugs” in 1986 when, pursuant to congressional authorization, CAP signed an agreement with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Customs Service offering CAP resources to help stem the flow of drugs into and within the United States.
This page is here for you to get information about Civil Air Patrol and about what your child is doing every Monday evening. If you don’t see something that you want to see or know about, please use the “Contact Us” page to send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you!
What Civil Air Patrol Can Do For Your Child
The cadet program provides young adults between the ages of 12 and 21 a well rounded program of leadership, aerospace education, physical fitness, and moral and ethical decision making. Many former cadets have gone into the military, government jobs, or private sector employment where they can and do make a difference, and really excel.
There are many military general officers that were once CAP cadets. Senators and congressman, CEOs and corporate executives, and others credit their success to CAP. Many of the cadets have improved in their self discipline, leadership abilities, their knowledge of aerospace, and their physical fitness since they joined Civil Air Patrol.
Costs Of Being A Member
Fortunately the costs of being a member of Civil Air Patrol are minimal compared to other programs with the same goals. The first cost you will run into is membership dues. This is a small fee paid when you sign your child up and this recurs every year. In Florida wing, membership dues are $47 for Cadets and $69 for Adults.
Cadets are required to purchase uniform items such as insignia and shoes to complete their uniform. This brings up the second cost – uniforms. Upon joining, cadets may receive the blues uniform, but to get the most out of CAP, cadets will need to purchase the ABU or BDU uniform. This can range anywhere between next to free all the way up to (and sometimes over) one hundred dollars.
We understand that this is a high price, and we do have some uniform items to supply those unable to purchase their own uniform. Other costs may include activity fees, which can range from around one hundred and fifty dollars (wing-level encampments, for instance) to over three hundred dollars for special national activities.
NOTE: The activity fees usually include lodging and meals for the duration of the activity (usually a week or more). Also note that smaller, squadron and group level activities usually cost no more than twenty five to thirty dollars, if anything at all.
What Goes On Each Week
Some parents might be wondering what Civil Air Patrol will be doing with their child. This is a general idea of what goes on each week.
- Arrival- Cadets arrive and sign in.
- Safety Briefing- A cadet safety officer or member of the cadet executive staff will give a safety briefing on a multitude of topics.
- Meeting Opens- Cadet executive staff open meeting with Pledge of Allegiance and Cadet Oath.
- Formation/Inspection- Cadets fall outside for a squadron formation and usually a uniform inspection. During the inspection cadets are graded on their overall appearance according to the Civil Air Patrol uniform manual.
- Main Activity- Each week we have a main activity that ranges from physical training to knowledge testing to promoting in grade.
- Secondary Activity- Another activity follows the main activity, which could be anywhere from a class on aerospace to an informal class on CAP history.
- Drill and Ceremonies- Every week we do drill and ceremonies. This includes marching and doing stationary drill movements.
- Announcements- Cadet and senior members give announcements such as encampment dates or the uniform for the next meeting.
- Meeting Closes- Cadet executive staff closes meeting and cadets are dismissed.
Other Opportunities Within Civil Air Patrol
Cadet and senior members can participate in so many more activities than just weekly meetings. Cadets can attend activities throughout the year such as leadership encampments and high adventure activities. Here is a short list of some activities cadets can attend:
- Encampments- CAP holds leadership encampments, which are kind of like basic training for CAP, every summer and winter. These events are held on a military base and consist of a week of intensive training in all things CAP. Cadets must attend an encampment to become a cadet officer.
- National Blue Beret- This is one of CAP’s National Cadet Special Activities. During this activity, cadets attend the nation’s largest air show and conduct flight line marshaling, participate in flight line security, and conduct emergency services missions. It is two weeks long.
- Pararescue Jumper Orientation Course- This activity lets your child spend a little over a week with Air Force Pararescue Jumpers, being trained in what they do and getting shown what day to day life for an Air Force Pararescue Jumper entails.
- Honor Guard Academy- This is an activity entirely dedicated to drill and ceremonies. Cadets will learn all the ins and outs of a Civil Air Patrol Honor Guard, and upon graduation become a member of the Civil Air Patrol Honor Guard.
Question: I Want To Stay At The Meetings With My Child, Can I Do This?
Extended answer- There are a couple ways you can stay at the meetings with your child. You can stay as just a parent, and you will be allowed to watch what the cadets do at every meeting, or you can become a member of CAP.
There are two types of adult members in CAP – sponsor member or full-fledged senior member. A sponsor member is an adult member of CAP that is not a full senior member, therefore cannot get all the benefits of being a senior member, but can still chaperon at cadet activities.
To learn more about becoming a member of CAP, please visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com or speak with a senior member in the cadet office at the next meeting.