RAPID CITY, S.D. — Roughly 175 Civil Air Patrol cadets and staff from 16 states are dusting off the cobwebs at a week long encampment in Camp Rapid – the largest in South Dakota’s history.
The cadets are put through the ringer – learning formations and procedures along with other CAP members from around the country.
Those states participating include: Alaska, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Hawaii, Minnesota, North Carolina, Mississippi, New York, Wisconsin, Georgia, Nebraska, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.
Nonetheless, they’re geared up and hosted by the South Dakota Civil Air Patrol Wing – training alongside states as close as North Dakota and Minnesota and as far as New York or Hawaii.
A shot for these wings to get back to the basics.
“It’s been really important for our staff to, you know, relearn some of these things and then, you know, enable to the situation to be able to teach some of these cadets these things,” said Cadet Lt. Col. Kayla Wayman.
The encampment kicked off Saturday with some orientation flights around Mount Rushmore, teaching a key part of its program – aerospace education.
Cadets learned key flying components like weather, aerodynamics, and a few maneuvers.
“We actually flew 34 cadets throughout the weekend with the seven aircraft, and we did have some assistance from some Minnesota Wing pilots as well. [They] flew over and helped us do that, so we got a lot of flying in in a short period of time,” said Capt. Matt Tennant with the South Dakota Civil Air Patrol Wing.
After all, this program has a history of producing pilots – whether they serve in the military or not – and it starts with training like this.
“This gives them a little interest in aviation, maybe it gives them a little taste of the military,” said Lt. Col Troy Krabbenhoft of the North Dakota Civil Air Patrol Wing. “Maybe some of them like it, maybe some of them don’t, but a lot of our cadets go into orientation-type or aviation-type career fields.”
The students are leaning on each other as they work through bed and uniform inspections to start.
But that’s turned into marching in formation, drilling sessions, and physical training – or PT.
“They’re working with each other; they’re trying to understand each other so we can start doing some of those things, so there’s a lot of just, a lot info that we try to put into them in a series a week,” Lt. Col. Wayman said.
Cadets pushing on and pushing through for each other and their regions.
For more information on how to become a member of the Civil Air Patrol, click here.