I have to confess: Being a local leader of one of Vermont’s best kept secrets in community service is not always easy. But it is one of the most rewarding. I am writing, of course, about the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), whose state headquarters are located at Burlington International Airport (KBTV).
The Civil Air Patrol, the volunteer auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force Total Force Vermont Wing, has approximately 200 members statewide; we utilize three Cessna aircraft and a variety of support vehicles to accomplish our missions. These include search and rescue and disaster relief missions, and other support, for many local and Federal agencies — e.g., the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Vermont State Police, Vermont Air National Guard, and others — by providing incident awareness assessment, airborne photography of large areas of the Northeast United States, urgent VIP transport, delivery of emergency medical supplies, and others. The Burlington Squadron, which I lead, is among Vermont’s largest; we share our headquarters with the Wing at KBTV.
This New Year, the Burlington Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol is seeking motivated and patriotic men and women to help accomplish our missions. An interest in aviation helps but is by no means a requirement: In fact, most of our Burlington Squadron members are non-pilots, and there are numerous ground-based jobs to be had. There are no requirements or programming involving military service of any kind.
CAP’s service to Vermont communities, as well as the nation at large, this past year reflects our capabilities and training both in the air and on the ground.
- Here in Vermont, the Wing and our six squadrons statewide assisted the Guard with distribution of 3.2 million meals in Vermont during the ongoing pandemic crisis. Our cadets also made several hundred protective masks, which were quickly distributed to healthcare workers.
- Civil Air Patrol offers numerous programs in fulfillment of its Aerospace Education mission. This includes: STEM kits, the K-6th grade Aerospace Connections in Education program, Aerospace Education Excellence curriculum, teacher orientation flights (in CAP aircraft), and more. Our squadron and the Wing have worked directly with several high schools and elementary schools throughout northern Vermont, arranging tours of Burlington Airport and helping educators promote awareness of the science and technology related to aerospace.
- Extensive youth programming for hundreds of Vermonters between the ages of 12-21, including our very active sister squadron here in Burlington. Leadership skills, outdoor skills, encampments and career academies, physical training, search and rescue experience, and a very popular introduction to piloting both powered aircraft and gliders are a few of the activities. There are a variety of scholarship opportunities as well.
- Airborne and ground-based monitoring of Vermont forest health, through our partnership with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.
Nationally, CAP finished fiscal year 2020 with 130 lives saved, making it one of the most productive years ever. We help accomplish this through airborne using radio-direction finding equipment, cell phone forensic techniques, visual searches, and other methods.
CAP has also recently launched a partnership with Cisco Networking Academy (NetAcad) to make cybersecurity support, training and curriculum resources available for free to all 60,000 CAP members. The partnership is intended to benefit both CAP cadets, many of whom are already involved in cyber defense education and competition, as well as our senior members interested in cybersecurity.
If you are interested in a fun, challenging commitment to develop your leadership potential, all the while giving back to our fellow Vermonters, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our monthly squadron meetings take place on the first Wednesday evening of every month, at 6 p.m. and are open to the public. Additional information can be found at vtwg.cap.gov/ or at gocivilairpatrol.com. We look forward to welcoming you.
Capt. Peter Slocombe, Commander, Burlington Squadron, Vermont Wing, Civil Air Patrol