October 7, 2016

Civil Air Patrol celebrates its 75th anniversary

Linda KC Reynolds
staff writer

The Civil Air Patrol celebrates its 75th anniversary in December and members from the Edwards AFB Composite Squadron 84 held an open house Sept. 17 at William J. Fox Airfield to commemorate CAP history, support Wreaths Across America and recruit new members.

Some cadets were given flight orientation rides with 1st Lt. Kevin Harbuck, CAP pilot, while Cadet MSgt. John Dunham and Cadet SMSgt. Cooper Rudnick demonstrated equipment used for Urban Direction Finding Team rescue missions.

An official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, the non-profit organization established in 1941 has three main missions: aerospace education, cadet programs and emergency services.

“The orientation flights teach cadets about aerodynamics and how airplanes work, but many become interested in flying and become pilots,” said Maj. Andrew Sachs, who is also a pilot and deputy commander, safety officer and operations officer of Edwards AFB Composite Squadron 84. Sachs said he was too old to join the Air Force, so he joined CAP 15 years ago to serve his community. He also flies search and rescue, and counter drug missions. Sachs said cadets are cream of the crop students and, nationally, about 10 percent get appointed to military academies. CAP also provides aerial photography for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FIMA) and other organizations.

1st Lt Brent Restivo, deputy commander for Bakersfield Composite Squadron 121, has been a member for three years and works in Public Affairs.

Civil Air Patrol Cadet CMSgt. John Dunham, 16, and Cadet SMSgt. Cooper Rudnick, 14, demonstrate equipment used to track distress beacons during an open house and 75th Civil Air Patrol Anniversary celebration at William J. Fox Airfield.

“Leadership, character development, team building — our cadets get a lot of training. If you took the classes and training that CAP provides, you would be spending hundreds, if not thousands on the education part,” said Restivo, who was recruited to the CAP by his stepson.

Using his photographic skills, Jacob Harbuck joined CAP as a cadet six years ago. He is now training as an airborne photographer and mission scanner, which are important to search and rescue missions. “There are so many opportunities and ways to serve the public through Civil Air Patrol, the opportunities are pretty endless,” said Harbuck.

Cadet SSgt. Jennefar Kelley, says she enjoys CAP because of the opportunity to lay wreaths on veteran graves during the Wreaths Across America program ceremonies, held in December.

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