N.C. Squadron Thrives During Pandemic Lockdown
Cadet Master Sgt. Grace Anderson
Raleigh-Wake Composite Squadron
North Carolina Wing
The North Carolina Wing’s Raleigh-Wake Composite Squadron is one of many Civil Air Patrol units not only surviving but thriving during the COVID-19 quarantine.
Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, national commander, announced March 14 that CAP would halt all in-person meetings because of the coronavirus threat. During the ensuing 4½ months, Raleigh-Wake members have engaged, virtually and otherwise, in emergency services missions, training activities, cadet and senior member meetings, cadet-focused activities and more.
Participation in squadron, group and wing activities has skyrocketed during the lockdown.
Members have taken part in several emergency services missions, helping out at Points of Distribution, where supplies are distributed to the public, and with Mission Staff Assistant efforts, which primarily involve driving vans of supplies to assist North Carolina Emergency Management. Seven cadets and eight senior members assisted at PODs across North Carolina, and eight senior members provided MSA support.
The members have been volunteering since April 1 – which makes this the longest-running mission in North Carolina Wing history.
The squadron has also hosted eight training sessions, with some repeating or continuing for weeks or months. In addition, the unit’s emergency services officer, 1st Lt. Wendy Peters, hosts weekly “CAP Talks” on Zoom for the North Carolina Wing, featuring seven speakers on assorted topics. “CAP Talks” has drawn an average attendance rate of 100 members.
Also on Zoom, Raleigh-Wake is hosting a training event covering the Garmin G1000, an all-glass avionics suite designed for a range of business aircraft, led by Peters and Maj. Jeremy Browner, the squadron’s aerospace education officer. This aviation ground school training has involved an average of 80 participants from five CAP wings.
Attendance at regularly scheduled squadron meetings, now held 100% online, has increased by nearly 40%. The unit has also seen a membership increase, with four cadets and three senior members joining after /several online meetings.
Raleigh-Wake cadets are staying busy by completing online training, attending meetings, obtaining promotions in rank and completing squadron improvement projects.
Cadet Capt. L. Parker Perkins, cadet commander, created an online cadet competition to keep cadets active and motivated during lockdown. The competition allows cadets to earn points by performing physical activities like running or pushups, by attending online training, by receiving promotions and even by participating in a uniform competition judged by photos submitted online.
More than 24 cadets are participating in the competition, with Cadet Airman Basic Ilam Maya in the lead with 64,879 points.Cadets also participate in committees to help improve the squadron. One such panel, the Study Tools Committee, is researching ways to improve the unit’s education program to allow cadets to better learn, retain and apply required educational material offered by CAP.
During the lockdown, cadets and senior members have earned numerous achievements and promotions. So far, 32 cadets and four senior members received promotions and 28 members have obtained emergency services qualifications.
“I am very proud of the work ethic and dedication that our squadron displays on a daily basis, especially in the face of the many challenges that we face as a community,” Parker said.