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CAP Cadets converge on Laughlin

Lt. Col. Richard Brower, the director of operations for the 434th Flying Training Squadron, gives a pre-flight brief to David Krizauskas, a 434th Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, 1st Lt. Rhett Spongberg, a 434th Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, and Rebecca Wilson, a Civil Air Patrol cadet from Broken Arrow, Okla. on June 13, 2019 at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. The Civil Air Patrol is a congressionally chartered volunteer civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force that provide emergency services, aerospace education and teen cadet programs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman John A. Crawford)

Capt. Alyssa Van Baalen, a 434th Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, Capt. Camille Richan, a 434th FTS instructor pilot, Annika Walukas, a Civil Air Patrol cadet from Eau Claire, Wis. and Kassandra Buell, a Civil Air Patrol cadet from Miami, Fla. move to their aircraft on June 13, 2019 at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. The Civil Air Patrol is a congressionally chartered volunteer civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force that provide emergency services, aerospace education and teen cadet programs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman John A. Crawford)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas—Twenty-eight high school Civil Air Patrol students from across America converged on Laughlin June 8 through 15 to get a first-hand course in pilot training.

CAP is the official civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. CAP is a volunteer organization with an aviation-minded membership including people from all backgrounds, lifestyles and occupations.

The CAP cadets began Sunday morning with a test, then they learned about many elements of pilot training. Monday morning, the action really started, with all-day aerospace physiology training. The week then fed into flight engineering training, maintenance training and security forces military working dog demos. Their visit to Laughlin was highlighted with simulator rides and several students received T-6A Texan II and T-1A Jayhawk orientation flights.

“We really tried to roll out the red carpet to these students and show them what the Air Force is really like,” said Capt. Rafael Alicea, 47th Flying Training Wing project officer for the visit.

It was a hit with the cadets as well. “I am extremely grateful to have attended this course,” said Victoria Lang, a cadet from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina “I have better direction for my future and new goals to pursue.”

Another cadet pointed out she got a different perspective from what she had. “I was able to see behind the scenes of the Air Force and see how many people are involved to just put a pilot in the sky,” said Kassandra Ball, a cadet from University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida.

After the rigorous and challenging week, one cadet made a promise as he left the Air Force’s premier pilot training wing: “I can’t wait to become a pilot at Laughlin and you will see me in 8 years when I get to pilot training,” said Gabe Katz, a cadet from Naples, Florida.