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Civil Air Patrol seeks new members
ARLINGTON Pilot training and military discipline were among the benefits that the Walsh family, Wes Bailey and other area youths and families were looking for when they visited the community open house of the Arlington Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, at Weston High School March 20.
Maj. Mike Talley explained that the CAP is an official Auxiliary of the Air Force, and their branch has already started a recruitment drive for cadets, from the middle school grades up to adults.
Simon Briant, cadet commander of the Arlington Composite Squadron, identified the CAP's objectives as performing homeland security and humanitarian missions on the local, state and national levels, as well as developing the country's youth and educating citizens on the importance of air and space power.
The CAP supports the Northwest Experimental Aircraft Association's annual Arlington Fly-In, for which they will be encamped July 6-13 this year, as well as fly-ins at the Concrete, Bremerton, Skagit, Olympia and Anacortes airports. It also conducts an annual flight academy every July, at their facility in Ephrata, Wash. Cadets that are at least 14 years old can learn to fly a glider, while those that are at least 16 can learn to fly Cessna-powered aircraft.
Cadet Airman 1st Class Arte Waise, an Arlington resident who has been a member of the Arlington Composite Squadron for the past year and a half, appreciates the experiences he's gained through the organization.
"The two months I spent at encampment really boosted me," said Waise, who looks forward to taking part in the CAP flying program this summer. "I want to take it further. It gives me military experience. Other kids spend their time watching TV or being individuals, but the time I'm putting in here is all worthwhile. I'm becoming a leader and a better person, with more integrity and morals."
For the boys of the Walsh family of Stanwood, the open house gave them a second look at a program that their sister has already entered. Cassie Walsh has been a cadet with the Arlington Composite Squadron for nearly a year, and her mother Lisa expressed enthusiasm over the results.
"She's learned followership," Lisa Walsh said. "She's not quite a leader yet, but she is starting to lead newer cadets. She's become more organized, and even keeps a calendar now."
Cassie's brothers, Kris and Kyle, both conceded the benefits of the CAP, even as they debated whether to join themselves. Kris, 13, sees the CAP as offering skills that are helpful "later in life," while Kyle, 14, admitted that he'd had to leave the CAP after six months due to scheduling conflicts.
"If I can find the time, I'd like to do it again," Kyle Walsh said. "It gives you opportunities you can't get anywhere else."
Haller Middle School student Wes Bailey heard about the open house through school and dragged his mother Megan Johnson along with him. As they watched Cadet Sgt. Maj. Sonny Kuo of Burlington execute precise rifle drill moves, Johnson shared her thoughts on the event.
"He's always liked airplanes and wanted to be a pilot," Johnson said. "He's interested in the aerodynamics of gliders. The program looks pretty cool. I like the scholarship opportunities. It could be a perfect fit for him."
"I'm thinking about going into the Air Force anyway," Bailey said. "If you've been in Civil Air Patrol, you can get promoted going into the Air Force."
Arlington City Council member Scott Solla attended without any children in tow, simply arriving as an interested observer.
"Our friends' oldest son was in Civil Air Patrol," Solla said. "He was the same age as our boy and we got to watch him grow up through it. It's great training, that gives a good foundation of community service and respect."
The Arlington Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol meets at Weston High School every Thursday at 6 p.m. To learn more, you may call Simon Briant at 425-770-8296, or Mike Talley at 425-359-0133. You may also e-mail Talley at firstname.lastname@example.org.