ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Area Civil Air Patrol cadets graduate from Camp Ripley Encampment

Cadets from the Crow Wing Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) recently graduated from Encampment, CAP's primary cadet activity held July 19-26 at Camp Ripley.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cadets from the Crow Wing Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) recently graduated from Encampment, CAP's primary cadet activity held July 19-26 at Camp Ripley.

Area cadets attending included Staff Sgt. Eli O'Dell of Pine River, Airman Joshua Sechser of Jenkins and Staff Sgt. Chris Trana of Breezy Point.

The purpose of Encampment is for CAP cadets to develop leadership skills, investigate aerospace sciences and related careers, commit to a habit of regular exercise and develop their moral character.

With a regimented, military-like training model, Encampment can first prove to be stressful as cadets adapt to a new environment.

"The first few days were rocky. Drill was tough. I needed self-discipline not to look around, and days were long," Trana said.

ADVERTISEMENT

With the positive, age-appropriate manner consistent with CAP and U.S. Air Force traditions, cadets soon learn to lead themselves.

"I told myself to think about my goals, and that gave me the determination to do well, and I thoroughly enjoyed Encampment," Trana said.

Sechser agreed: "Encampment was a remarkable experience for me. It probably stood out the most because I was in Hotel flight, which took first in many of the competitions much of the time."

Sechser was named Honor Cadet of the 34th Squadron as well as serving as guidon (flag) bearer for his flight, which required considerable extra training.

Cadets have 20 hours of classroom leadership courses during the week, and experience military-style uniform and room inspections, physical training (PT) and drill. Given the hot temperatures, the hour-long morning PT sessions followed by a one- or two-mile run were a challenge for cadets.

O'Dell demonstrated CAP's commitment to excellence when he said, "The hardest part for me was the running, but those times when it was especially difficult I prayed to God, and my fellow cadets encouraged me. I was able to get through it every time."

Through activities such as rappelling, obstacle courses and firearms training, Encampment encourages safe, calculated risk-taking in a safe environment. Even some of the tougher activities ranked as the most memorable and fun for the cadets. Three Navy SEALS assisted in training the cadets on Camp Ripley's training courses, including an orientation flight on a Chinook helicopter.

"My favorite part of Encampment was the Chinook ride, the obstacle course, rappelling and meeting Navy SEALS," Trana said.

ADVERTISEMENT

O'Dell agreed, saying, "My favorite part of Encampment was the confidence course because I got to be trained by Navy SEALS. They encouraged us to push our limits and taught me how to construct a rope harness."

Upon conquering many personal challenges, cadets soon learn that it is not enough to succeed individually - the encampment environment fosters teamwork, a lesson the cadets brought home.

"I learned many things, but the most important, No. 1 thing is teamwork is needed to accomplish everything," said Trana.

O'Dell concurred: "I learned the importance of teamwork and that I can truly do hard things."

During the week, cadets are introduced to the many opportunities CAP offers its members. It's not unusual for cadets to begin planning future activities and career options after these classes.

Because Encampment training is standardized throughout the state and nation, it is a pre-requisite to many other CAP activities and awards, including the Mitchell Award. Though not all cadets choose a military career, those who obtain this award are able to enter the Air Force at the E-3 grade.

Sechser said, "I plan on going to (CAP's) Minnesota Leadership Academy this fall, Ground Team Academy next year, and possibly Flight Academy ... so I needed Encampment for all three of those. I learned a ton about customs and courtesies as well as uniform wear and other things."

As for future plans, Trana was inspired to apply for several national cadet special activities offered through CAP. In the past two years, Crow Wing Composite Squadron cadets have attended Cadet Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, Pararescue School in New Mexico, National Blue Beret at the Oshkosh Airshow, Hawk Mountain Ranger School in Pennsylvania, and North Central Region Flight Academy in Mankato, a few of many similar national activities for cadets.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trana's goal is to apply for the International Air Cadet Exchange, which is like an exchange program with other countries for air cadets.

O'Dell plans to apply for Hawk Mountain Ranger School since he hopes to pursue emergency services, which is, along with aerospace education and cadet leadership, one of CAP's three missions.

With opportunities from cybersecurity teams to robotics to RC aircraft to technolgy camps, teens are able to pursue many areas of interest within the CAP program while meeting new friends and having fun.

"I highly recommend anyone to join CAP in the future," Trana said.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 60,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. Visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com or www.capvolunteernow.com for more information.

For more local information, call 218-829-7631 or visit www.mncap.org/crowwing .

Civil Air Patrol cadets who participated in Encampment at Camp Ripley included, front row from left, Liam Richardson, Crow Wing Composite Squadron representative at Encampment graduation; Eli O'Dell of Pine River; and Ian Paschelke; back row from left, Chris Trana of Breezy Point; Ben Jacobson; and Joshua Sechser of Jenkins.Submitted Photo
Civil Air Patrol cadets who participated in Encampment at Camp Ripley included, front row from left, Liam Richardson, Crow Wing Composite Squadron representative at Encampment graduation; Eli O'Dell of Pine River; and Ian Paschelke; back row from left, Chris Trana of Breezy Point; Ben Jacobson; and Joshua Sechser of Jenkins.Submitted Photo

What To Read Next
25 Pine River-Backus students are participating in this year's program
Inmates in-custody in the Aitkin County jail in Aitkin, Minnesota
Inmates in-custody in the Beltrami County jail in Bemidji, Minnesota
Inmates in-custody in the Morrison County jail in Little Falls, Minnesota