Civilians taste military life
April 16, 2004
David Rivera is in the cadet program of the Civil Air Patrol Squadron 25.
The Civil Air Patrol is composed of cadets who are interested in aerospace hardware
and learning to pilot planes. The squadron meets every Tuesday from 6:30 p.m.
to 9 p.m. at Cable Airport in Upland.
Not far from La Verne, in the city of Upland, many young men and women are
being trained in search and rescue and other techniques that can lead to obtaining
pilots licenses by the age of 21.
From 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. each Tuesday, a group joins together at the Cable
Airport to learn lessons in areas ranging from search and rescue techniques
to aerospace information and aerospace auxiliary.
Most of the youth involved are preparing for the military.
Founded in December 1941 by more than 15,000 citizens frightened about the
vulnerability of Americas Pacific coastline following the Japanese attack
on Pearl Harbor, the Civil Air Patrol is made up of volunteers who decided to
take control and put their aviation skills to use.
Proving their worth and dedication to their country, the volunteers were incorporated
as a non-profit organization by President Harry Truman.
Since then CAP has intended to fulfill three primary missions: aerospace education,
cadet programs and emergency services.
The Cable Airport CAP program started in 1952, where it has continued to thrive
as it has captured the attention of many.
This years group has 35 cadets.
The cadet program allows students 12 to 21 to participate. Youth involved
in the program attend nearby high schools such as Damien High School and Upland
The program teaches the cadets discipline, organizational and leadership skills
as well as search and rescue techniques.
Each weeks class has a different theme. While one class may encompass
information on Air Force auxiliary another might focus on piloting a plane.
CAP members can also participate in composite and senior divisions.
For many first-timers the cadet program is a way to get a taste of military
Cadet Aaron Steele joined the program last July because he is interested in
eventually joining the military. His interest in flying made the program particularly
appealing, Steele said.
I enjoy doing this, he said. It has changed me.
Besides the college and military scholarship opportunities, cadets like Steele
soon learn that leadership skills, teamwork and problem solving are also benefits
of this program.
First Lt. George White, who was in the military for nine years before becoming
a police officer, became interested in the program after the Sept. 11 terrorist
White, a retired police officer who puts in 20 hours a week at the air base
and works with the cadets and senior members, said he enjoys seeing the members
improve and succeed in life.
It is so exciting to see a persons character develop, White
John Findley, a deputy commander for the seniors, is a retired navy officer
who got involved with the CAP program because of his interest in flying.
Currently working in San Diego, Findley makes the long trip to Upland each
Tuesday to take part in the program.
"The program is about getting involved in what interests you and how
you can contribute to the service, he said. Especially since every
piece makes a part.
For more information visit www.cap.gov
or call (909)982-4014.