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    Civil Air Patrol cadet encampment brings Air Guard brothers together

    Civil Air Patrol cadet encampment brings Air Guard brothers together

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Zane Craig | Shawn (left) and Kevin Utermohlen both Airman 1st Class Shawn Utermohlen, both with...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Zane Craig 

    Joint Force Headquarters, Pennsylvania National Guard

    FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Wing of the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Training Schools brought together more than 300 students from diverse backgrounds across Pennsylvania and beyond June 18-25 here.

    Two cadets in key leadership roles during the annual encampment are current members of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard and also brothers.

    Airman 1st Class Shawn Utermohlen, an electrical power production specialist and Civil Air Patrol Captain and Airman 1st Class Kevin Utermohlen, a pavements and construction specialist and Civil Air Patrol Cadet 2nd Lt., are both with the 1st Detachment, 201st Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer Squadron,111th Attack Wing and Boyertown, Pa. natives.

    After attending the Horsham Air Show as a child, his parents motivated and pushed Kevin, who is younger, to join the Civil Air Patrol at age 12. He said it was an intense experience at that young age to deal with the controlled stress of a military environment.

    “We tailor the training as much as we can to the individual. We try to place older cadets in leadership roles, whereas a younger cadet’s place is in the flight, learning how to follow now so they can lead later,” said Shawn.

    At the annual encampment, which is entirely cadet-run, the leadership tries to foster a basic training atmosphere while taking into account that they are working with people of varied proficiencies, backgrounds and maturity levels from ages 12 to 21.

    “My focus this year was to bring my training from the Air Force back here to standardize the school and make sure it’s in line with that, because we do have a lot of civilian members that don’t necessarily know what that environment is like or how to behave in a military setting,” said Shawn.

    Current and prior service members have an important role in mentoring civilians and demonstrating how to render proper military courtesies.
    Kevin said that mentoring cadets and seeing them take over his old positions is the most fulfilling aspect of the training because this is his last year as a cadet before becoming a senior member.

    “I’m very thankful for the opportunities I’ve had through Civil Air Patrol, because it’s taught both of us leadership skills,” said Kevin.

    “For instance, I’m currently only an Airman, but I know how to interface with people, how to mentor people without being in a leadership position. You can help out other Airmen in your unit, you don’t necessarily need more stripes to show leadership,” he said.

    Shawn and Kevin both enlisted in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard in 2015 after having been in the Civil Air Patrol for several years.

    “When I was 12 and in Basic Cadet Orientation Program it was all at Horsham Air Guard Base and there was a class on the Air National Guard and that was something I always kept in the back of my mind,” said Kevin.

    Both Kevin and Shawn said their experience in the Civil Air Patrol influenced their decisions to join the Air National Guard.

    “The most fulfilling thing for me is seeing the growth in the cadets from when they get here on day zero and they’re bumbling around and don’t know what’s going on, to graduation day when they’re in step, they’re DCID is perfect, they’re chest out, shoulders back, proud to be marching, that transformation is awesome,” said Shawn.

    We see that in local weekly squadron meetings, there’s a paradigm shift from cadets that haven’t attended encampment to those that have. They know what’s expected of them, how to act, it’s like basic training we get to standardize them from across the state he added.

    Students participate in the Leadership Reaction Course, obstacle course, 193rd Special Operations Wing tour at Harrisburg international Airport, drill and ceremony, and pass and review.

    Most Civil Air Patrol members remain civilians, but the organization maintains a close relationship with the military. The Civil Air Patrol contributes to Air Guard readiness and Pennsylvania communities by volunteer crews to responding to ground search and rescue, natural disasters, and civil aide. Members also photograph damage during emergencies, and enhance the state’s counterdrug mission.



    Date Taken: 07.14.2017
    Date Posted: 07.14.2017 14:03
    Story ID: 241177

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