News

Squadron Members Attend Wings of Dreams Fly-In Breakfast

posted Nov 6, 2018, 8:50 AM by David Froiseth

Saturday, November 3rd, was the monthly Wings of Dreams Fly-In Drive-in Breakfast at the Keystone Heights airport.  Senior Members Ben Henderson, 1st Lieutenant Chad Tripp and Major Lawrence Oshins flew the Gainesville Composite Squadron Cessna 182 to the airport, arriving early.  In the photo, C/2nd Lt. Elijah T. R. Cook directs them where to park.  In the foreground is Cadet Zachary Byrne in the foreground.

The airport was constructed in 1942 as Crystal Lake Airfield, and was commissioned in December 1942 as Keystone Army Airfield (AAF). It was used as part of the Air University's Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics (AAFSAT) tactical combat simulation school.   The F3 Havoc, P39D (variant) Air Cobra, and L-2 and L-3 Grasshopper Light Observation Aircraft were some of the Aircraft utilized for training.  In November of 1943, the 313th Fighter Squadron moved from Alachua and employed P40 Warhawks for training. Later, the P40s were replaced with P47 Thunderbolts.  After the end of World War II, the facility was turned over to the City of Keystone Heights in 1947.

The Fly-in Drive-in Breakfast buffet benefits the Wings of Dreams Aviation and Space museum.  Breakfast begins at 8AM, first come first served.  Cost is $7 per person, $4 for children 9 and under.  The breakfast is complimentary for WWII and Korean War veterans.  The breakfast buffet includes: scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, cheese grits, biscuits, fruit, juice and coffee.

C/CMSgt Stanbridge Earns Glider Pre-Solo Rating

posted Aug 21, 2018, 8:46 AM by David Froiseth   [ updated Aug 22, 2018, 8:01 AM ]

Cadet Chief Master Sergeant (C/CMSgt) Kaleb Stanbridge recently had the privilege of participating in the National Flight Academy at Hartness State Airport in Vermont.  For this highly selective academy, nearly 100 CAP cadets applied this year and only 16 were selected from throughout the country.  Major Wayne Henderson, who is also from the Florida Wing, was cadet Stanbridge’s flight instructor.  Major Henderson complimented the caliber of cadets that attended the academy.

Chief Stanbridge earned his Pre-Solo Rating in only 13 sorties (2.7 hours of flight time). Pre-Solo means that he flew the entire flight himself and made all the decisions as if Major Henderson were not in the rear seat. He is eager to finish up his training and be able to solo, and we are eager to make that possible for him.  During the week of training, we flew just over 300 sorties. Fighting inclement weather, we had several flights following graduation during the afternoon of the last day, including two first solos.  

Each academy is designed for cadets who want to learn to fly. Participants receive formal ground instruction and cockpit time with a certified flight instructor. The low instructor-to-student ratio provides opportunities for mentoring and individual attention.  The Vermont academy is one of 50 National Cadet Special Activities sponsored by CAP this summer. These activities have allowed cadets to hone their skills in a variety of areas – including search and rescue, flight and emergency services, science, leadership fundamentals, citizenship and military courtesies – and to explore aerospace technology and aviation careers.  This year, more than 7,500 youth participated in CAP-sponsored summer activities.  The national activities are designed to allow cadets to explore potential aviation, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), military, or public service careers.

Cadet 1Lt Nate Kiker Leads Advanced Team at Hawk Mountain

posted Aug 9, 2018, 8:35 AM by David Froiseth   [ updated Aug 9, 2018, 8:37 AM ]

For the fourth consecutive year, I returned to Hawk Mountain Ranger School in Pennsylvania, the longest standing search and rescue school in Civil Air Patrol.

At the end of the school each year, a prophesy is placed on the students who attend the school, invoking a calling to return to the mountain. These words spoken over me in my basic year of 2015 have held true.

I served as an Alpha Squadron TC (Team Commander) for the 2018 summer school. Alpha Squadron is the advanced squadron, comprised of about 12 to 18 cadets who hold higher Emergency Services qualifications. Many of the cadets in Alpha have Ground Team 1 or Ground Team Leader qualifications.

Most of the classes for Alpha Squadron contain advanced topics, for example high angle rescues and land navigation. This year we had the opportunity to practice helicopter patient packaging in a U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk. We were honored to participate in this specialized training presented for the first time. It was an exceptional experience.

Staffing Alpha squadron was one of the best times I have had at the mountain, made exceptional by the fellow staff cadets and senior members I had the pleasure to work with. As I practiced and learned search and rescue skills, I have experienced the satisfaction of sharing those skills with other cadets over the past four years at Hawk Mountain.

Cadet Minck Calls Glider Academy "A Great Experience"

posted Aug 6, 2018, 10:16 AM by David Froiseth

In July Cadet 2Lt Isaac Minck participated in the South East Region National CAP Glider Academy at the Tullahoma, TN Municipal Airport.  Each year twenty cadets are competitively selected from across the country to participate in this week-long academy. These students are provided with formal classroom instruction on the principals of flight and a hand’s-on instruction in a glider.   

Cadet Minck said “it was a great experience, for many different reasons.  First of all, it taught me how to multitask in a high-stress, fast moving environment, such as the takeoff phase of a flight.  As the glider is towed down the runway and up to pattern altitude, the utmost attention to detail must be observed.  Judicious use of rudder is necessary to keep the glider in the middle of the runway, while using the control stick to keep the glider from rolling and striking the runway with the wings, which is a lot harder than it sounds!  The glider takes off sooner than the tow plane, due to its light weight, so if the glider flies too high above the tow plane on takeoff, the glider can pull up the tail of the plane and cause the propeller to hit the ground.  The work doesn't stop at takeoff!  The glider pilot must be mindful of his altitude constantly.  We called out to our instructor every time we climbed above the 200-foot mark, because 200 feet is the minimum altitude necessary to turn around and return to the runway in the event of a rope break or other emergency.  All of these factors made for an exciting, challenging, and rewarding experience.”

The academy, hosted by the Beechcraft Heritage Museum, was supported by the Soaring Society of America and the Arnold Air Force Base Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) Program which provided volunteers and materials for the cadets.  The academy included four Federal Aviation Administration rated glider instructors, four tow planes and four gliders.

“I successfully completed the requirements for my CAP Pre-Solo wings, and I hope to continue glider flight training and solo eventually” said cadet Minck.  “I left the academy feeling confident as a pilot, and much more knowledgeable about gliding.  I would highly recommend this activity!  I enjoyed my time in Tullahoma immensely.  I felt privileged to have been selected to go, and I hope that I represented the Gainesville Composite Squadron and Florida Wing well.”

Cadet CMSgt Kiker Attends E-Tech Robotics

posted Aug 4, 2018, 9:41 AM by David Froiseth

In June Cadet Chief Master Sergeant Ned Kiker attended E-Tech robotics at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) just outside of Nashville.  E-Tech robotics is a National Cadet Special Activity (NCSA) that cadets must compete for to attend.  The activity introduces cadets to several aerospace and engineering disciplines by completing hands-on projects and learning from professors whose work has garnered national and world-wide notice.  Most faculty are pilots in addition to having a field of specialization. 

According to Chief Kiker “we learned about robotics and how it has changed and helped the world.  We also learned how to fly and build quad-copters using cardboard and balsa wood.  We got to tour the campus and learn about the technology programs that are offered at MTSU.  I made many friends there, and I hope to go next year as staff to help the new cadets learn what I leaned and have fun.  Speaking of fun, the residence hall at MTSU was perfectly laid out as an interior Nerf battle space.  We set up teams and had colossal Nerf wars once our work was done.  It wasn't part of the curriculum as such, but one of the best parts of CAP Summer Activities is meeting up with youth from all over the country who have similar interests to you.  The people I have met through CAP are some of the highest quality individuals I have ever met."

Do you want to pursue careers in engineering technology?  Are you interested in cutting-edge aerospace technologies?  Are you considering becoming an engineer, but you’re unsure of your aptitude, or even what engineers do?  If that sounds like you, then you should attend E-Tech robotics.

Cadet Severino Conquers Hawk Mountain

posted Jul 30, 2018, 11:24 AM by David Froiseth

This month Cadet Sam Severino attended the week-long Hawk Mountain Ranger School (HMRS) located in Kempton, PA.  As the longest running Search & Rescue (SAR) School in the nation, HMRS has provided some of the best wilderness SAR training to cadets and seniors throughout the country for over 60-years.  The school is conducted outside in the same conditions as a real mission and is the most intense and rewarding summer activity that CAP has to offer.     

 ​Cadet Severino’s first several days of the school started at 0545 hours, with physical training, the obstacle course then a run or soccer.  A variety of classes were conducted throughout each day, teaching individual skills about equipment and techniques used in team searches, navigation, cutting tools, rappelling, and wordsmanship skills. 

 “We were taught basic survival skills like fire and shelter building.  We also learned advanced Emergency Service skills including but not limited to how to form and command a search line, how to signal a plane, and responding to emergencies with basic first aid” cadet Severino said.  In addition to the practical skills, leadership and character development were emphasized.  

 After training was complete cadet Severino participated in a multi-day field training exercise which tested all of his acquired skills along with his endurance.  “We put together our 72-hour bags and set out to climb Hawk Mountain.  Climbing the mountain was a grueling but rewarding experience.  It took one and a half days to climb to the top and another day and a half to get back down.  The trek, although difficult at times, was eased by our teamwork and motivation plus the view at the top was amazing” said cadet Severino.

 This was followed by the final part of the school which involved testing, not just to graduate from the school, but also to earn Ranger Grade certification.  Throughout the entire school, cadet Severino was challenged to take charge of difficult situations in order to become part of a working team.  According to cadet Severino “this school prepared me for the future by teaching advanced search and rescue.  I learned that I can overcome obstacles and succeed.  I stand ready to serve in any CAP ground team missions that come our way.”

Lt. Cook Attends Glider Flight Academy

posted Jul 26, 2018, 9:47 AM by David Froiseth

Cadet 2nd Lieutenant Elijah Cook attended​ CAP’s South East Region National Glider Flight Academy.  Located at the Beechcraft Heritage Museum at the Tullahoma Regional Airport in Tullahoma, Tennessee, this activity provided twenty cadets from all over the United States with logged flight time in gliders on a daily rotational basis for a full week.

At the Academy Lt. Cook was able to go as far as his pre-solo flight, in which he displayed the proficiency to fly the glider properly from takeoff behind a tow-ship to landing on his own.  He was on a team of five cadets who flew a Schweitzer 2-33.  His callsign was “Cookie” and the Gliders' nickname was “Nemo.”  Their instructor was Jere Matty.

According to Lt. Cook “learning new and entirely different skills is possible if one has the heart to accept and overcome difficulties.  Gliding provided me the vision to see that I CAN do incredible things, as long as I am focused and dedicated.  The time spent around aspiring young aviators with lofty dreams similar to my own was invaluable in providing a boost to my self-morale and motivation.”

Cadets Tour Rapid Prototyping Lab

posted Jul 14, 2018, 10:46 AM by David Froiseth

On July 11th, as part of the Summer Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Series, cadets from the Gainesville and Marion County Composite Squadrons attended a presentation on Rapid Prototyping.  This was conducted in the University of Florida’s Rapid Prototyping Lab by the Facility Manager Alex Anton.  The lab, in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) department, has four additive machines, one subtractive machine and a 3-D scanner.  Alex showed the cadets the internal parts of the machines, described how each one works, and passed around various items made by the machines.  Alex, who is working on a Mechanical Engineering major with an Electrical Engineering minor, plans to work in the field of robotics. When asked why he recommends engineering as a field of study, he replied, "Because you get to design the future. You will build the world we live in."

Orientation Flight Support

posted Jun 30, 2018, 4:37 PM by David Froiseth

Capt Chad Schulze, TFO Ben Henderson and TFO Chad Tripp assisted in organizing the logistics and operations for cadet orientation flights at the 2018 Florida Summer Encampment.  TFOs Henderson and Tripp organized and coordinated 32 powered orientation flights and 11 glider orientation flights.  On the day of the event Capt Schulze flew the most sorties out of any other pilot, totaling seven.  Prior to the flights, TFO Henderson cross country aero-towed the CAP glider to the Keystone, FL airport.  

“It has been a busy week but the Gainesville squadron has proven to be more than capable of supporting CAP operations with the few members it has” said TFO Tripp.  “Our unit has distinguished itself for having quality over quantity.”  

Squadron Members Participate in SAR Mission

posted Jun 30, 2018, 1:53 PM by David Froiseth   [ updated Aug 21, 2018, 9:14 AM ]

On Friday June 22nd our squadron was called upon to participate in a massive ground search and rescue mission for a missing National Guard soldier at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center near Starke, Florida. 

Cadets Isaac Minck and Evangela Caliguire along with TFO Chad Tripp were part of the ground team and TFO Ben Henderson served as the Communication Unit Leader for the mission.  “All of the participating squadron members did an amazing job especially the cadets considering the circumstances of the mission” said TFO Tripp.  

The search was coordinated by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.  Roughly 450 military, police and civilian searchers on foot, horseback, all-terrain vehicles and helicopters covered a 1,000-acre area of woods and swamp.  The helicopters, from the Jacksonville and St. Johns County sheriff’s offices, along with U.S. Customs flew search grids.  Staff from sheriff’s offices in Putnam, Baker and Marion counties, plus emergency management from Clay and Pasco counties, St. Johns County Sheriff’s Urban Search and Rescue Team and other state and local groups joined the effort.

The missing soldier had been taking part in a land navigation training course designed to test their navigation skills through heavy vegetation.  He did not return as scheduled at 11 a.m. Wednesday, according to Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Keith Smith.  He was equipped with full uniform, a navigation tool, a map and some basic food and water.  Searchers had found some of his cast-off gear, like paperwork and a tool used to find navigation points.  “The conditions are very tough these last few days, especially the conditions right now,” Smith said.  “The terrain can be grueling” he said.  “And with all the rain that we have had, and it’s a kind of swampy area anyway, waist-high to chest-high swamp, mud and water,” Smith said.”  “It’s taken our searchers a lot to get through there and we have to make sure we keep our guys hydrated.  It is a meticulous and methodical search, somewhat hampered by rough terrain and heat” Smith said.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said the soldier’s dead body was found Friday evening in the woods and that the cause of death had not been determined.

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