I spent the first few days of July in Dayton, Ohio at the National Cadet Competition. I’ve never had the privilege of attending NCC; what an amazing event! I would encourage all wings to try to field a team. Your cadets can really benefit from this opportunity! If they are lucky enough to represent region and attend the national event, all the better!
I was honored to spend time with both the Missouri Wing team (consisting of C/CMSgt Zane Doering, C/2d Lt Zach Bray, C/2d Lt Marc Fritsche, C/MSgt Reagan Hess, C/TSgt Erin Vallie, and C/SSgt Jacob Hobbs with Major Jennifer Smith and Major Mike Toedebusch serving as escorts) and the South Dakota Wing team (made up of Cadets Peter Willison, David Willison, Isaiah Klosterman, Annabelle Klosterman, Caleb Hofer, and Mariel Klosterman and chaperoned by 1st Lt Tyler Gross, and 1st Lt Mimi Klosterman). Two North Central Region cadets did a great job serving on staff also. C/Lt Col Joshua Klosterman of SD WG, the NCR CAC Chair, and C/Lt Col Boaz Fink, who is on the NCR staff, served as event staff and did a great job. The cadets participated in several events: indoor drill, outdoor flag raising, team leadership problem, robotics, physical fitness, mile run, standard drill, quiz bowl, uniform inspection, written test, impromptu public speaking, public speaking, and a community service project. Finally, the teams did geocaching at the Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson AFB. Let’s explore the events a bit as other teams can benefit in the future.
Indoor drill consisted of the teams posting the colors as they would for an event.
Outdoor presentation consisted of raising, lowering, and honoring the colors on an outdoor pole. Puerto Rico Wing was impressive in outdoor presentation—wow! They could give you goose bumps with their performance in this event.
For team leadership, the cadets were given a problem to solve in a time limit. Cadets received the tools they need as well as some distractions. The Missouri Wing team struggled with this challenge but completed it in a very innovative way. Our team literally was down to using its teeth to complete it! This was very exciting to watch.
For robotics, the cadets did a human calculator and also programmed a robot to follow a course. Many of the robots took a slightly different path than was planned but the cadets seemed to enjoy the event.
For uniform inspection, cadets were given a scenario about a cadet. The judges read a biography for a cadet telling how long she had been in CAP, what events she participated in, and gave cadets all the tools to build a correct uniform with badges, devices, and ribbons. While two cadets worked the uniform problem, two were inspected by the judges.
The community service projects were completed before attending. Teams submitted a media presentation talking about their project that the judges reviewed. The cadets from South Dakota digitized cemetery records and took photos of grave markers. This is helpful for genealogists, historians, and families of those who have passed. What a great way to serve the community and state! The Missouri Wing team service project taught aerospace at a disadvantaged school. It was clear from the team spirit and smiles that the cadets very much enjoyed the event.
The Missouri Wing team placed second in Robotics and the Team Leadership Problem. The South Dakota Wing team placed third in Physical Fitness—those cadets can do some sit ups and push-ups! I heard one of the judges say that Cadet Klosterman should do a video for the proper form for push-ups. The South Dakota team also had great flexibility on the sit and reach test. I also very much enjoyed a speech presented by South Dakota Wing on the “Unwanted Job.” The Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson AFB is absolutely amazing! The hangars are full of aircraft and a savvy visitor can find CAP mentioned in several places. Aircraft used by CAP are on display. I toured the museum with Col Ed Phelka, the Great Lakes Region Commander. We enjoyed talking about history and airpower before taking in a great 3D movie on airpower. We finished up with lunch in the cafeteria with Col Barry Melton, the Southeast Region Commander. Congratulations to all who participated and thank you for representing North Central Region! I hope to see several wing teams compete at the April 2018 Region Cadet Competition at Camp Ashland, NE.
July is a heavy month for National Cadet Special Activities. These events are one of the best parts of the Cadet Program and I would encourage every cadet to take advantage of them. Several cadets from NCR travelled to Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama to hone their leadership skills at Cadet Officer School. Cadets attending COS included Cadet Sara Pineda (NE), Oakley Barham (MO), Nicholas Risko (MO), Noah Enders (KS), Annalisa Tostenson (MN), Abigail Browning (MN), and Jack Trombley (MN). Kudos to these cadets for fulfilling a requirement for the Lt Col Ira Eaker Award and improving themselves at this premier event! Cadet Marie Williams of Missouri Wing and Cadet Josiah Sterns of Iowa Wing chose to attend the Cyberdefense Familiarization Course. Cadet Lauren Wiseley of Minnesota Wing attended the Engineering Technologies Academy at Camp Pendleton for Robotics.
While some cadets chose an academic path, others chose a physically demanding activity. Cadet Greg Matya of Nebraska Wing, Travis Crawford of Missouri Wing, Emily Hackbarth of Minnesota Wing, Ian Paschelke of Minnesota Wing, and Curt Baker of Kansas Wing attended Hawk Mountain Ranger School. I know from my days as a cadet that Hawk is a physically demanding course. I remember fondly my days running the obstacle course on foggy mornings and playing three ball soccer. I can still remember the Ranger Creed from my days in Pennsylvania . . .
Three cadets from NCR chose activities where they learned about flying in July. Cadet Oakley Barham from Missouri Wing attended the powered Flight Academy in Mankato, Minnesota and Steven Frazee of Missouri Wing attended the glider Flight Academy in Tennessee. I had the good fortune of seeing Cadet Barham in Minnesota when I visited the NFA there. Cadet Logan Kuehl of Iowa Wing attended the Model and Remote Control Academy in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Finally, NCR’s cadet NCO of the Year opted to attend National Blue Beret in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Cadet Austin Hermanson honed his leadership skills, practiced his emergency services skills, and enjoyed an amazing aerospace event. I missed NBB this year as I was presenting at a conference for work. As a Beret, I can assure you there is no other activity like NBB. You will see and do things in Oshkosh you will remember for a lifetime! In the dozen or more years I have spent at Oshkosh, I have never been disappointed!
In addition to NCSAs, July is a busy month for encampments. The week after NCC, I visited the Joint Dakota Cadet Leadership Academy at Camp Rapid, South Dakota. North and South Dakota have been doing this event as a joint encampment for 25 years! Isn’t that amazing? What a wonderful example of collaboration and teamwork. Kudos to the Dakotas for their work together! Col David Small gave me a tour of the event. I saw many people I often see at CAP activities. Lt Mimi Klosterman and Tyler Gross were at encampment working in Public Affairs. Capt Michael Johnson, who I saw take command of a unit last year, served as encampment commander. Col Mary Donley was serving on staff as well as Lt Col Linda Buechler. C/Major Anika Bohmer, who serves on the NCR CAC, was on hand to serve as cadet commander. The cadets from SD who had just been at NCC the week before were at Camp Rapid training the next generation of leaders, what a dedicated crew! Thank you for your hospitality, South Dakota Wing. Also, thanks to Lt Col Doug Dutton and Capt Sky Caldwell of Kansas Wing for flying me to Rapid City.
The week after I visited the JDCLE, I visited the National Flight Academy at Mankato, Minnesota. The event utilized three great facilities. Cadets in the powered track flew out of Mankato. Cadets in the glider track flew out of New Ulm. Cadets and staff ate and stayed at Gustavus Adolphus College in Mankato. I had the good fortune to have dinner with the cadets and the university was absolutely beautiful and a very gracious host. One could not ask for a nicer facility and cadets really seemed to enjoy the meals! The weather was good and many flights were completed in both gliders and the powered track. I appreciate Activity Director Lt Col Conrad Peterson giving me a tour and allowing me to observe glider operations and talk with the powered flight students. Thanks to Major JoEllen Peters for the ride to the airport and back. Also, thanks to Lt Col Doug Dutton and Capt Sky Caldwell for flying me to Minnesota to visit this amazing event. This was my first trip to see the NFA in Mankato.
My July activities for CAP included some continued work with the LDWG and a CSAG call. Then I was off to New Orleans on behalf of my work to present at a conference. I also offered some assistance to the PAO team at NBB at a distance. I am always ready to help my fellow Berets!
Several cadets completed milestone awards in July. Congratulations to Cadet Luke Young of Missouri Wing for earning the General Ira C. Eaker Award. Congratulations to newly promoted Lt Col Daren Jaeger of Kansas Wing.
July missions included some SAR training in Nebraska and Missouri Wings, media flights in North Dakota, and teacher flights in Iowa. Missouri also worked on a Low Level Route Survey. Minnesota had a find on an ELT search and Kansas had four finds on three ELT missions. Kansas also participated in a Low Level Route Survey and more than fifteen missions for the American Red Cross transporting blood products.
I am going to combine August/September as it will mainly focus on the Command Council meeting in San Antonio, which bridges the two months.