Kaleb Wade joined Civil Air Patrol (CAP) at the age of 17. He was looking for a program to apply his time and help him learn about leadership, safety, and preparedness. What he actually got out of CAP, however, is something he never expected.
He began his cadet journey with an orientation glider flight. It was the first time he ever flew. He was hooked. He would fly as often as he could in the year before turning 18. After 18 years old, CAP flight experiences change with training tracks for scanner, observer, and photographer to be used in missions. Some members, both cadet and adult, pursue their pilot's license.
Cadet MSgt Wade tells his story: "When I joined in 2016, I had a general idea of what kind of career path I wanted to follow, but nothing had really jumped out at me yet. Our CAP squadron took a trip to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright Patterson U.S. Air Force base near Dayton, Ohio. It was there that I got to see some awesome machines, and I wondered how they could take to the sky. It was because of that squadron activity that I started looking into how aircraft operate, and I absolutely loved, and still love, learning how they are put together, one piece at a time."
He is currently studying aircraft maintenance at Somerset Community College where they specialize in Aviation Maintenance Technology. He is still an active member of CAP and has helped the Somerset squadron grow.
His future plans include obtaining A&P certificates and pursuing a career in "fixing these amazing flying machines."
Cadet MSgt Wade states, "If it hadn't been for CAP, for that squadron activity, and for my CAP family and leaders that encouraged me to pursue those interests, I wouldn't be where I am today. I joined looking to learn, and I ended up obtaining an entire life plan."
Civil Air Patrol offers teens and adults with experiences that build skills while serving their community.
The Aerospace Program provides many opportunities for adults and youth to experience everything from rocketry, quadcopters, astronomy to flying in CAP aircraft.
In addition to aerospace, CAP inspires youth to become the next generation of leaders in its Cadet Program. The program centers around its core values of integrity, volunteer service, excellence, and respect for ages 12-18. They have the opportunity to develop a passion for flying, leadership, cybersecurity as well as many other careers that they are exposed to while serving their communities.
In Emergency Services, both cadet and adult members train for disaster relief, search and rescue, and humanitarian missions. They develop skills in radio communications, first aid, and train to help our community in a state of crisis.
Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force's Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 80 lives annually. CAP's 61,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. In addition, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to over 26,000 young people participating in CAP's Cadet Programs. Visit www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com or www.CAP.news for more information.