Utica Cadet Squadron, Civil Air Patrol mark 80th anniversary

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UTICA — The Utica Cadet Squadron and Civil Air Patrol members throughout the country and in overseas squadrons are celebrating the organization’s commitment to community service this month for their 80th anniversary.

More than 56,000 youth and adult members nationwide — 2,000 of which reside in New York State — volunteer their time and talent to perform essential emergency services, advance aerospace and STEM education, and provide youth programs that build character, enhance physical and mental fitness, and shape the leaders of tomorrow.

“Civil Air Patrol members draw strength from our 80 years of history,” said Maj. Gen. Edward D. Phelka, CAP’s national commander and CEO. 

“On this milestone anniversary, today’s volunteers take great pride in continuing the important work of our predecessors. Just as we did in CAP’s early years, volunteers continue to perform vital missions for America, including homeland security, youth training, the advancement of science and technology, and so much more. Our proud past is a launching pad for us to rocket into the future.”

Civil Air Patrol was founded in December 1941, one week before the U.S. entered World War II. Since then, its mission has evolved over the past eight decades to meet the ever-changing needs of America’s communities with advanced lifesaving technology and world-class programs in youth development and education, officials said.

As the operator of the world’s largest fleet of single-engine aircraft, CAP also serves as the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force to perform emergency services duties as assigned, including conducting search and rescue missions; supporting local, state, and federal agencies after natural disaster; providing pandemic relief; participating in joint training exercises; and more.

In 2015, Civil Air Patrol became a Total Force partner of the Air Force in a noncombatant role, complementing the combined efforts of the Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard to preserve life and relieve suffering.

Civil Air Patrol’s education programs for youth span grades K-12 with science-based aviation and aerospace education curriculum, interactive STEM kits, and career exploration.

Volunteer University, the organization’s adult learning center of excellence, provides online, on-site, and on-demand opportunities for adult members to hone existing skills and learn new ones to help create a highly trained and effective volunteer workforce.

Programs for CAP cadets aged 12 to 18 focus on developing well-rounded community-minded servant leaders by integrating education, enhancing physical fitness, increasing confidence, and more.

Civil Air Patrol is also helping address the looming national pilot shortage with innovative programs like Cadet Wings that provide scholarships to train cadets 17 and older to be private pilots — an opportunity that can change the trajectory of a young life, officials said.

The Utica Cadet Squadron meets every Sunday at 2 p.m. at the American Legion on Herkimer Road and is always accepting teenager and adult members. Contact squadron commander, Capt Keith James at kjames@cap.gov for more information.

To learn more about CAP in general, visit GoCivilAirPatrol.com.

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