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Civil Air Patrol seeking new members

The Civil Air Patrol in Cottageville is looking for new members to want to take their would-be military careers to new heights.

The non-profit group is formally affiliated with the U.S. Air Force, acting as an auxiliary group whose members are often compared to those in an NROTC program. The county’s group is based out of Cottageville: they meet each Tuesday from 6 p.m.to 8 p.m. at the Cottageville Police Department headquarters. “If you say you want to go into the military, we can get you prepared,” said Denise Wilson, public affairs officer and fundraiser chairwoman for the local Civil Air Patrol (CAP).

“We show youth what they will be going through,” she said.

Air patrol members, or youth who join the group, have access to pilot lessons and rides. There are also camps and organized programs that educate CAP members on the military lifestyle. “We take members flying, there are flight gliders and there are camps,” she said.

Nationally, the CAP has more than 500 aircraft. In South Carolina, there are 10 pilots whose efforts and aircraft are divided among the state’s groups.

“We fly them where we need them. And we have our own pilots who are in charge of this,” she said.

“The groups also work on a voluntarily basis with law enforcement on search and rescues. We also have ground teams and air teams to work when we are called.”

In addition to the local CAP’s showcasing their group at the upcoming Cottageville parade, the local air patrol is holding a monthly promotion night, where the efforts of new members are showcased publicly. “When we have new cadets, they can work and improve their rank. It is similar system to the U.S. Military,” said Wilson. “We do drills and tests on the cadets.”

The local CAP currently has four youth participants and nine senior members.

According to Wilson, the group is seeking new members in an effort to increase the local chapters’ participation numbers.

To better promote themselves, the CAP will be participating in the upcoming Cottageville Tractor Parade, which is scheduled for April 14th. There, the group will have an informational tent and booth for parents and interested youth.

Soon, Colleton’s Civil Air Patrol leaders will also be holding informational sessions for prospective members at North Walterboro Christian Academy. “Our senior members will be speaking to students in sixth to twelfth grades, explaining to them about the program,” she said. “We are going to take anyone who is interested, and we will contact their parents and set up further informational sessions.”

“We will also be having an open house (soon) to welcome new cadets and senior members,” said Wilson. “This is a good program to help children and to point them in the right direction.”

The CAP Open House will be held on May 15th at 6 p.m. at the Cottageville Police Department.

For more information on the group, or how to join, visit their booth at the Cottageville Tractor Parade or attend an upcoming information session or Open House.

Heather Walters (1322 Posts)