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    Civil Air Patrol cadets climb aboard Tanker for flight over Germany

    Civil Air Patrol cadets climb aboard Tanker for flight over Germany

    Photo By Senior Airman Kelly OConnor | The Civil Air Patrol, ‘National Headquarters 128’ based in RAF Mildenhall, cadets...... read more read more

    Civil Air Patrol cadets from RAF Mildenhall hopped on board a KC-135 Stratotanker for the first time ever Dec. 19, 2017.

    The jet didn’t stay on the ground like a typical static display, which some visitors might see on a regular base tour. The tanker took off into the cloudy, gray sky with 11 cadets and two senior members, who experienced an actual air refueling mission.

    “I liked watching the planes come up,” recalled Cadet Airman Ian Kirkpatrick, “Watching the system work and how they refuel. This was a really cool opportunity.”

    The tanker offloaded 30 tons of fuel to six F-16s, so the cadets had plenty of opportunities to capture the moment. The pilots and the boom operators, although they had a mission to complete, eagerly answered the cadets’ questions and guaranteed the experience was a positive one.

    Staff Sgt. F Jervis, 351st Air Refueling Squadron boom operator, said one cadet told him during the flight that he wants to be a pilot or boom operator. “We loved having them. Seeing the boom and the action happen--and seeing their smiling faces--I hope they were inspired and took something away from it.”

    The Civil Air Patrol’s ‘National Headquarters 128,’ the group’s official title here at RAF Mildenhall, is one of seven overseas units. They consist of 21 cadets, aged 12 to 18, and 11 senior members. They meet once a week to learn about the military way of life. They hope their numbers will grow when more kids and adults hear about what they have to offer.

    “It’s about volunteer service,” said CAP Senior Member Lt. Col. Darren Cruz, National Headquarters 128 commander. “They learn about the Air Force way of life, which helps change their character and build basic leadership skills for a better every day dynamic of who they are as people growing up in the world.”

    Cruz joined CAP as a cadet in 1979 and six years later joined the U.S. Army as an Army tactical communications systems operator/mechanic. He is now retired, and is giving back to the program.

    His CAP rank and title is a reflection of the program’s structure by using the military’s chain of command.

    The cadets are even given a rank and title, and earn a higher rank through hard work and dedication. Thirteen year old Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Arianna Barker earned her rank in two years and wishes to follow in her father’s path by joining the Air Force.

    “I’ve always been interested in joining the Air Force and CAP gave me the opportunity to learn more about it. I’ve learned a lot. I knew nothing about planes,” Barker enthusiastically expressed. “I’ve also learned about aerospace in general, leadership, and character development.”

    Civil Air Patrol encompasses three basic missions: aerospace education, cadet programs, and emergency services. In the UK, the mission is tailored more toward the cadet programs and aerospace education because stateside is where the Air Force Coordination Center calls upon CAP to conduct its emergency services program through search and rescue missions.

    CAP meets every Monday 6:30 - 9 p.m. at the Hardstand Fitness Center. Email cap.mildenhall@gmail.com for more information about becoming part of a community that develops future leaders.



    Date Taken: 01.05.2018
    Date Posted: 01.05.2018 10:12
    Story ID: 261386
    Location: GB

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