by Senior Airman Chad Warren
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
7/27/2010 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (AFNS) -- For the 13th consecutive year, the Louisiana Wing Civil Air Patrol Cadet Encampment was held here July 15 through 25.
The encampment is a 10-day course designed to give young CAP cadets the opportunity to experience Air Force customs and get an up-close look at various military careers.
This year's CAP encampment helped prepare more than 60 cadets for military life.
"I have been involved with CAP for 34 years since I was a 14-year-old cadet in the Florida Wing," said Lt. Col. Paul Griffith, of the 2nd Bomb Wing plans and programs, and liaison to the Louisiana CAP. "The cadet program did so much in helping to prepare me to become a member of the Air Force that I feel privileged to give back all the time and efforts I can to help the next generation of cadets who will then become future military leaders."
The cadets were able to tour Barksdale AFB and visit numerous units such as the 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron fire department and the 2nd Security Forces Squadron military working dog section. They also visited with crewmembers of the B-52 Stratofortress, and received training from Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialists.
"It has been really nice to have access to all of the things we have," said Cadet 1st Lt. Ashley McDonald, a cadet commander. "We are very lucky cadets to be able to see firsthand what the Air Force is really like."
The CAP was founded by citizens concerned about the safety of the U.S. coastline, one week before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in December 1941. Now, there are more than 56,000 members nationwide, with 21,000 cadets aged 12 to 20.
The CAP program is broken into 52 wings across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, each of which hosts encampments open to CAP cadets. For a CAP cadet encampment to be certified, it must provide 40 hours of curriculum consisting of military knowledge and familiarization.
The Louisiana Wing Cadet Encampment, which includes cadets from all over Louisiana and parts of Texas, is supported by 21 base agencies and consists of 82 hours of hands-on curriculum.