MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. – Cadets and officers attending Civil Air Patrol’s National Blue Beret Encampment will again participate in one of the largest and most prestigious aerospace education learning environments in the world during AirVenture 2012, the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual convention at Oshkosh, Wis., July 17-30.
One of 30 National Cadet Special Activities provided each summer by Civil Air Patrol, Blue Beret gives participants an opportunity to see AirVenture up close while providing critical support for the premier aviation event and air show, which annually draws 500,000-plus people and includes more than 10,000 aircraft.
This year, approximately 160 cadets will join 40 officers in Oshkosh for Blue Beret, providing emergency services and other assistance for AirVenture.
“Blue Beret is a cadet activity that is second to none,” said Lt. Col. James Peace, the activity’s director. “Blue Beret allows CAP cadets to hone their emergency services capabilities while also developing their leadership skills. At the same time, the cadets enjoy the aerospace education experience of a lifetime.”
Each participant works several areas of AirVenture, including the flight line and exhibits, learning techniques of aircraft marshaling and electronic direction finding.
Cadets will be encouraged to take advantage of events that often occur during AirVenture, such as the opportunity to meet legendary aviators, celebrities and aviation professionals. Past AirVenture guests have included aircraft designer Burt Rutan, air show performer Patty Wagstaff and Air Force pilots like Bob Hoover and Chuck Yeager, as well as Medal of Honor winners and American astronauts. The cadets also get to witness the flight of vintage, current and experimental/prototype aircraft.
Through its 70-year-old cadet program, CAP builds strong citizens for the future by providing leadership training, technical education, scholarships and career education to young men and women ages 12 to 20.
Activities like Blue Beret give cadets the opportunity to improve their skills in a variety of areas, including search and rescue, flight and emergency services, science, leadership fundamentals, citizenship and military courtesies, and to explore aerospace technology and aviation careers. In 2011, more than 1,000 youth participated in CAP-sponsored summer activities.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 54 lives in fiscal year 2011. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to nearly 27,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 70 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com or www.capvolunteernow.com for more information.