Hancock Air National Guard Base, NY --
HANCOCK FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, SYRACUSE-The New York National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing hosted 118 cadets of the Civil Air Patrol’s New York Wing for their annual encampment at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base July 24-31.
The 2020 and 2021 encampments were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Civil Air Patrol, known as CAP for short, is the official civilian auxiliary of the Unites States Air Force. It provides assistance during emergencies and runs a youth cadet program for teens.
Sixty senior staff cadets and senior patrol members ran the week-long event. The cadets came from several other northeastern states as well as New York.
The cadets need to attend an encampment in order to advance in the cadet program, said CAP Major Christian Granda, this year’s encampment commander.
“Most of the cadets need this in order to promote to cadet officer,” Granda said. “They can take all the tests needed for Chief Master Sgt. but need this encampment for promotion to officer.”
Each cadet’s day started at 5:45 a.m. with physical fitness training in the field, followed by a hearty breakfast.
Cadets also had their dorm tents that were set up on base. Uniform inspections were held, similar to the experience of military basic trainees. They also spent time practicing military drills and marching.
Each day of encampment week, classroom instruction was held. Cadets were taught military core values, leadership, and team building.
The cadets were given a tour of Hancock Field to see what the 174th Attack Wing does. The cadets got an up close look at all of the different career fields that the wing has to offer.
A highlight of the cadet program was the chance to look at aircraft first hand. During the week the cadets were able to view planes and helicopters from around the region.
A KC-135 tanker from the 914th Air Refueling Wing based at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station;
A C-17 Globemaster III, strategic airlifter from the 011th Airlift Wing based at the Pittsburgh International Airport;
A C-5B Galaxy, assigned to the 439th Airlift Wing from Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, Massachusetts;
An AH-64 Apache attack helicopter assigned to the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade from the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum;
A CH-47 Chinook assigned to the B Company, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment based at the Rochester International Airport,
And an MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft flown by the 174th.
Civil Air Patrol cadets don’t have to join the Air Force, but the things they learn make an Air Force career attractive, said CAP 2nd Lt William Doorman, the encampment public affairs officer.
“It got me more career oriented thinking about what I am going to do after high school,” Doorman said.” The Civil Air Patrol can build up leadership experience and it’s great if you want to pursue anything in aerospace or military.”
Doorman said he applied to attend the Air Force Academy after high school.
The Civil Air Patrol was born in 1941. World War I aviator Gil Rob Wilson had a plan to activate civilians for national defense. Civil Air Patrol pilots, using their own planes, patrolled the Atlantic coast of the United States to deter German submarine attacks.
Since 2015, the Civil Air Patrol has officially been a member of the United States Air Force’s Total Force alongside the active Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard.