Welcome to Encampment! Now Move!
By C/2nd Lt Weston Kennedy
Photos by C/2nd Lt Weston Kennedy, C/2nd Lt Amanda Ringo, C/CMSgt Bethany Fischer, & C/CMSgt Hannah Aasgaard
Texas Wing Summer Encampment 2017
The start of this week also marked the official beginning of Texas Wing Summer Encampment. Our line and support staff got ready on Sunday by waking up early and preparing to receive the basic cadets. They scrambled to get personnel and equipment in the right places, making sure that everything was ready.
Once 1 P.M. hit, the skies opened up. The cadet staff had to finish prepping in the onslaught of rain. However, the rain began abating just as the first basic cadets arrived. All the staff communicated effectively and worked smoothly, guiding the cadets inside and making sure forms were completed.
The basic cadets came in heavily laden with their packs, trying to understand this unfamiliar environment they had been thrust into. There were officers, first sergeants, and chiefs all around them, as well as senior members; the basics were challenged to observe proper customs and courtesies. It was a blur of cadets as one after the other was checked, given an SOI (Standard Operating Instructions), and sent to their flight. They were then escorted by their flight staff to their barracks, where their bags were checked for any disallowed items. Then they were tasked with setting up their bunks and putting their belongings away in the lockers and drawers available to them.
After putting their gear away, the basics fell in for evening formation. Once they were dismissed, the flights fell in line for dinner in the DFAC (Dining Facility), which many had been eagerly awaiting. The basic cadets quickly ate their meals, were welcomed to Encampment, and were introduced to the staff. Then they were taught about firearms safety, such as what to do if there was a problem with range rifles. This information will be very important for them when they are allowed to shoot at the firing range on base. The cadets ended the night with personal time, which they used to chat or prepare their uniforms for the next day.
Although the first official day of Encampment was rather intense, many of the cadets have a bright outlook for the coming week and the challenges it will bring.
Staff Day Scramble
by C/2nd Lt Amanda Ringo, Pictures by PA Staff Texas Wing Summer Encampment 2017
Though the first couple of days may have seemed a bit overwhelming, Texas Wing Encampment staff made the most of the time that they had. Day one consisted of staff in processing and a variety of briefs. After a productive first day, the Encampment staff rewarded themselves with some staff PT and team sports. Day two consisted of the required staff training, inspection preps, and drill practice as our staff prepared to begin the in processing of cadets on Sunday.
Our mess staff immediately got to work preparing food for approximately 120 people that were on base during the past two days, while our admin staff began the lengthy process of identifying and sorting paperwork for over 250 cadets, seniors, and staff that would be attending Encampment over the next week.
Line staff got hard to work training and perfecting their drill and PT so that basic cadets would receive the best training that Texas Wing can offer, while our Standards and Evaluations team set up mock inspections to prepare for the coming week.
Upon arrival, we saw a lot of creativity from our Line staff with their squadron guidon creations. We even had staff members bring their very own squadron mascot! Public Affairs got to work capturing the best moments throughout the staff days, and plan to capture memories over the upcoming week that will last a lifetime.
During team sports, our cadet staff got a chance to show off their skills (or lack thereof) during friendly games of frisbee, volleyball, soccer, and basketball. High Colonel Churtle even made his famed annual appearance.
Everyone is excited to make this upcoming week the best it can possibly be!
Training The Next Generation Of Leaders
Article by C/CMSgt Bethany Fischer, photos by the Cadet Public Affairs Team
Texas Wing Summer Encampment 2017
After an intense in-processing, cadets have to prepare themselves for the days to come. Due to weather, PT was in the basics’ barracks on Training Day 1. Once they finished PT and Chow, the cadets returned to their quarters to prepare their uniforms and bunks for inspections. Inspections involve rigorous check ups for all uniforms, making sure the beds have hospital corners, and checking their lockers for misplaced items.
Basics and Intermediate cadets are getting into a steady rhythm now that they’ve gotten the chance to settle in. In the next couple days, these cadets will bond and grow together as one flight.
When the flights finished drill, everyone headed over to the DFAC for several presentations. The speeches ranged from the four core values of CAP to classes on bullying. After the first few classes, basics went back into flight formation to practice more drill.
The humidity was high after lunch, so the cadets de-bloused for the first time. Following the de-blousing, they refilled hydration and got to know each other better.
At the end of the day, the flights fell into a final group formation. Charlie Flight received the award of Honor Flight for the day. Honor Flight is the best award one can get as a group. This means that they were the best in PT, drill, and uniform inspections. Delta Flight was awarded Warrior Flight. When a flight receives this award, it means that they showed the most spirit, and positive attitude. All of the flights put in their best effort and will endeavor to succeed throughout the week.
With the first full day of training, the cadets will soon familiarize themselves with their surroundings and bond together as a flight.
Drug Demand Reduction
Article and Photos by C/2nd Lt Amanda Ringo
Texas Wing Summer Encampment 2017
During TD-2, our basics got the opportunity to participate in DDR instruction, otherwise known as Drug Demand Reduction. Taught by C/Lt Col Jacob Ryan Lee Gaskins, who is also a firefighter and EMT in the city of Fredericksburg, Texas, the class teaches cadets the effects and consequences that are associated with the use of drugs and alcohol.
Civil Air Patrol as an organization does a lot of work with Drug Demand Reduction, as we fly anti-drug trafficking flights and work with the U.S. Coast Guard to fight drug trafficking as well. Civil Air Patrols DDR program assists units at all levels to instill an aggressive, positive, drug-free attitude in CAP members, Air Force families, DoD civilians and school-age children through a comprehensive program that promotes CAP as a positive community service lifestyle. It encourages youth to remain in school, focuses on drug abuse awareness, education, prevention, and provides positive activities as an alternative to drugs and gang violence.
Basic cadets were given goggles that simulate vision impairments that are associated with being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They were then told to perform a variety of simple tasks, such as walking heel to toe on a line of tape, tossing a ball in a basket, and even having a little bit of friendly competition dueling with the foam batons with and without the goggles on so that they could see the difference in performance and awareness. As expected, cadets performed much better without the impairing goggles than with them. They were then asked how they think this would affect skills that require lots of focus and concentration, such as driving.
One person had a lot to say about the DDR instruction in particular. Alpha flight sergeant, C/SMSgt David Brisher, age 17 (pictured in a photo below), has been in CAP for 3 ½ years. He is also a volunteer firefighter for Riverside Volunteer Fire Department in Huntsville Texas and has been for the last 2 years. “I’ve seen what [drugs and alcohol] can do to people.” Said Brisher. “My first CPR in progress call was a lady who had overdosed on drugs. She was pronounced dead on arrival. That’s what made me become fully interested in serving my community and preventing situations like that from happening again.” Brisher says that CAP is a great way to teach this DDR curriculum because CAP cadets can take this information out into their communities and make an impact. He believes CAP cadets can do a lot to prevent and educate their communities on the subject.
Though this class may look like a lot of fun, the lesson taught prior to having the fun was serious and our flight staff and instructors made the message clear. We take a lot of pride in training the next generation to reduce our nation’s demand for drugs.