Civilians taste military life



Campus Times
April 16, 2004


photo by Reina Santa Cruz

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.


by Amby Sarabia
Staff Writer

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 America’s 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 year’s 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 High.

The program teaches the cadets discipline, organizational and leadership skills as well as search and rescue techniques.

Each week’s 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 life.

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 attacks.

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 person’s character develop,” White said.

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.