14:30 PM

200+ Supporting EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Via National Blue Beret

More than 200 Civil Air Patrol members from across the U.S. and overseas are gathering to serve the aviation community over the next two weeks by providing support for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, promoted as the “World's Greatest Aviation Celebration.”

In all, 150 CAP cadets and 51 senior members will pitch in during the event, which annually draws more than 550,000 people and over 20,000 aircraft to Wittman Field, making it the world’s busiest airport for at least one week each summer.

The air show starts July 22, but CAP members descend on the area today and will remain through July 29, a day after the show concludes.

They are participating in National Blue Beret, a CAP National Cadet Special Activity. To qualify, those selected are required to complete nine courses, including several offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The first week is devoted to preparation and obtaining the qualifications required to serve on an intensive, high-tempo mission base. NBB is one of five search and rescue mission bases activated across Wisconsin by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, each staffed by dedicated CAP members during AirVenture Oshkosh.

“It is great to be back at National Blue Beret in Oshkosh. The EAA folks are super supportive, the community is very welcoming, and we get to work with the finest people in CAP,” said Lt. Col. Mark Lahan, NBB director for 2019.

CAP cadets and senior members support the EAA event by marshalling aircraft on the flight line, tracking and finding overdue aircraft and interacting with the public. NBB participants also often support the CAP national recruiting booth, staffed by Wisconsin Wing members.

The environment at EAA AirVenture provides a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) extravaganza where cadets can meet with any of more than 900 aerospace manufacturers and vendors. EAA workshops are hands-on events that encourage cadets to learn such aircraft manufacturing skills as woodworking, welding, engine repair, electronics and fabric covering.

Opportunities are also available to meet legendary aviators, celebrities and aviation professionals. The education and career pavilion offers cadets transitioning into careers and college the opportunity to meet with representatives from over 30 colleges, universities and service academies. In addition, many major aviation industry recruiters are looking for the next aviation professionals.

Ultimately, cadets learn how to become leaders while taking on the responsibility of serving others – in this case, the general aviation community and AirVenture visitors.

“I am looking forward to another outstanding year and for me it is a great personal honor to have been selected as the activity director this year,” Lahan said. “I hope I can live up to the expectation of our members, those we support and CAP.”

NBB is one of about 50 National Cadet Special Activities sponsored by CAP across the nation this summer. These activities enable cadets to hone 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.