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Air Patrol: for the people

The Civil Air Patrol has been in existence since one week prior to the Pearl Harbor attack that took place Dec. 7, 1941. In the late 1930s, civilian volunteers, ìwith a love for aviation argued for an organization to put their planes and flying skills to use in defense of their country,î according to the CAP website.Capt. Terry Brookham, public affairs officer of the Banning Lewis Cadet Squadron RMR-CO-190, said that CAP is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and is chartered by Congress as a 501(c) (3) nonprofit corporation. The CAP website dates the official law establishing the Civil Air Patrol as a permanent auxiliary to the Air Force as May 26, 1948.Brookham said there are three primary mission areas of the Civil Air Patrol: cadet programs, aerospace education and emergency services. According to the CAP website, aerospace education has two audiences: CAP volunteers and the general public. Educational programs include aerospace technology and advances.CAP emergency servicesí missions helped Colorado Springs residents during the Hayman, Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires. They flew over burn areas and took aerial photos. ìThe aerial photographs are being used by the city of Colorado Springs and emergency management to document mitigation and remediation efforts,î said Maj. Paul Schoen with t CAP. ìThey’ve put up debris barriers and flow controls in the Waldo Canyon area.îSquadron CO-190 is part of the cadet program, which focuses on leadership training, physical fitness, character development and volunteerism, Brookham said. Cadets ñ from age 12 to 18 ñ are held to standards similar to those in the military. Brookham said they have the same rank titles as the Air Force, and cadets can advance in rank every 60 days if they follow the guidelines and pass the required tests, which include online materials and education, as well as physical fitness tests. All members are volunteers, and any youth can participate.Cadet Squadron CO-190 is the newest squadron in Colorado, said Capt. David P. Stark Jr., deputy squadron commander. The squadron is having its official ìstanding-upî ceremony, establishing it as a squadron in April. The date hasnít been determined. Brookham said they accept associate members as well ñ those who donít want to fully participate in the program but want to help in some way.Cadet Riley Newcomer said she heard about CAP through Roundup Day at her school ñ Banning Lewis Ranch Academy. Newcomer became curious when she noticed fellow students wearing battle dress uniforms to school. She found out more about the program, and told her mom she wanted to participate. ìI actually have a dream of going to the Air Force Academy,î Newcomer said.ìMy grandpa was a technical sergeant in the Air Force. I thought it would be a neat experience because not many girls are willing to be in the military. Not many girls are willing to run and be so disciplined in this modern society.î Newcomer is the only girl in her eighth grade class in CAP. She has spoken with her grandfather about his experience and asked him about her options. ìHe says there are a lot of options going into the military, and I’m interested in becoming a physician or anything that deals with church,î she said. ìThere are so many things I don’t even know about yet, and I’m wanting to explore those.îNewcomer said CAP is a good experience and one of the best extracurricular offerings at school. ìThere’s so much discipline, but it’s fun,î she said. ìWe’re learning to be friends, learning how to get along and make ourselves better. Her CAP goal is to get ready for the Air Force Academy.The Banning Lewis Squadron plans to participate in local community events, such as the El Paso County ìTackle the Trashî roadside cleanup April 27. Their cleaning zone is on Meridian road, from Woodmen Road to Rex Road. They will be wearing orange vests provided by the county.More information about ìTackle the Trashî can be found on the El Paso County website: http://news.elpasoco.com/Pages/default.aspx?ReleaseID=882.More information about CAP is available at http://gocivilairpatrol.com. Information about the Colorado Wing of CAP is at http://coloradowingcap.org.

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