LRAFB hosts Civil Air Patrol Cadets

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Dana J. Cable

More than 150 Civil Air Patrol Cadets across Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas toured Little Rock Air Force Base June 26-27, 2023, during their annual cadet encampment.

These cadets volunteered a week of their summer to train with the Civil Air Patrol.

The encampment program is designed to mentor young Civil Air Patrol Cadets giving them a positive outlet to learn about aviation, military customs and give them a feeling of real camaraderie between peers as they spend a week training together.

“The 2023 Arkansas encampment showcases the Cadet Programs in a positive, age-appropriate manner consistent with CAP and Air Force traditions,” said Richard Gerhardt, Southwest Liaison Regional Operations Director for Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana CAP Wings. “Cadet encampments focus on developing leadership skills, character, aerospace education, and fitness – everything that is valued in a model Airman.”

Founded on Dec. 1, 1941, to mobilize the nation's civilian aviation resources for national defense service, CAP has evolved into a premier public service organization that still carries out emergency service missions when needed — in the air and on the ground. As a Total Force partner and auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, Civil Air Patrol is there to search for and find the lost, provide comfort in times of disaster and work to keep the homeland safe.

During the week-long encampment, cadets stayed on Camp Robinson where they received an orientation flight on a Blackhawk Helicopter.

While at LRAFB, cadets had the opportunity to explore a C-130J Super Hercules, experience C-130J Virtual Reality Maintenance Training and learn from a host of other Air Force related career fields.

“Vital to developing young aerospace leaders is exposure to Air Force members with first-hand knowledge and experience of flight and space operations,” said Gerhardt. “By providing aircrew, aircraft, orientation flights, static displays, and other mission orientation opportunities if able. Air Force base support to these encampments is key to energizing and motivating the cadet youth and inspiring them to continue their service as adults.”

Encampment is a requirement for cadets to promote within the organization and serves as an opportunity for cadets to develop leadership skills, investigate the aerospace sciences and related careers, commit to a habit of regular exercise and live the Core Values.

In its Total Force role, the Civil Air Patrol operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 90% of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions. This is tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) and is credited by them with saving an average of 78 lives annually.

Civil Air Patrol’s 56,000 members nationwide also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state, and local agencies. Its members additionally play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people.