“Aiken has had a long history with the Civil Air Patrol,” said first lieutenant Norwood Bodie. “There was a squadron as far back in the mid-’60s. I think in ’85 it deactivated because of lack of membership.”
A lack of members is now a thing of the past. They are bringing a charter in Aiken.
The first lieutenant says the Civil Air Patrol or CAP gives the cadets life tools to thrive in the real world.
“They can join as cadets, and they can learn airspace education,” said Bodie. “They can learn emergency services skills, and they can employ those during natural emergencies like the flooding we had.”
The cadets are a group of citizen volunteers ages 12 to 18. They learn core values including excellence, volunteerism, respect, and integrity.
“It has helped me with communication skills especially,” explained Peter O’Connor. “I was not good at communication skills; I would not be able to do anything like this at all. I would get stage fright and be throwing up.”
The 14-year-old has been a cadet in CAP for about a year. He is hoping the program will help him get a pilots license so he can fly drones.
“CAP isn’t just for pilots,” said O’Connor. “I have a friend who is the same rank as I am and she does not like to fly in airplanes. It’s for everyone; it’s just not for pilots or aviation, there are many opportunities in CAP.”
The newly appointed representative for the Aiken chapter says, there are many goals for the charter. For now, he is excited for it to be in his hometown.
“We’re going to be a squadron,” said O’Connor. “We aren’t just going to be a branch of another squadron; we are going to be our own.”
The Civil Air Patrol was founded on December 1, 1941. More than 70-years of service while maintaining its commitment to nearly 1,500 communities nationwide.