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Partnership with Norwich University Win-Win for Cadets

A partnership is commonliy formed when people come together to create a business team after realizing their skills and talents complement each other. Luckily for Civil Air Patrol cadets, a partnership has been created between Norwich University and the New Hampshire Wing.

It began in 2007 when the wing was searching for a place to hold an annual encampment. Norwich, the nation’s first private military college, located in Northfield, Vermont, was looking for activities to hold on campus during the summer months.Collins Davison, then Norwich’s director of corps recruitment; Col. Don Davidson Sr., a former commander of the New Hampshire Wing; and Lt. Col. Walter Brown, homeland security officer for the wing and a Norwich alumnus, came together to explore the idea of holding CAP’s encampments at Norwich.

Davison saw the potential for CAP cadets later enrolling at Norwich. But he also understood the financial constraints that could prevent cadets from attending encampment at such a facility.

To overcome this hurdle, Norwich established a $25,000 annual encampment scholarship, now totaling $250,000.

“Everything about holding the encampment at Norwich was terrific,” recalled Lt. Col. Robert Shaw, a Norwich ambassador who was the wing’s director of cadet programs and emergency services training officer at the time. “We held the first encampment and Ground Team Training School in the summer of 2007, and it was a huge success.”

The program’s success led to establishment of an academy dedicated to hosting the encampments, as well as the Northeast Region Honor Guard Academy and a Noncommissioned Officer Leadership School. The university also established, for those who met certain criteria, a $20,000 CAP cadet scholarship that includes an automatic academic scholarship. Since the program began, cadets have been eligible to receive more than $3.8 million in scholarships.

One CAP cadet who took advantage of the scholarship is Ensign Josiah Boggs, who graduated from Norwich in May 2016 and was commissioned into the U.S. Navy. Boggs joined Civil Air Patrol at 16, ultimately earning the organization’s highest cadet honor, the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award. After attending his first encampment, he participated in the basic and advanced pararescue orientation courses, the combat control orientation course, region cadet leadership school and the National Honor Guard Academy. After he graduated from high school, he attended Norwich.

“As a cadet, I squeezed everything out of CAP that I could,” said Boggs, now a senior member with the rank of captain. “Now, I staff encampments and other activities when I can, but being a TAC (tactical) officer at encampments is my favorite job. I try to challenge cadets to get everything they can out of CAP, because it has so much to give and it puts them in good places to get what they want for the future.”

Another cadet also took advantage of what Civil Air Patrol and Norwich provided. U.S. Army 1st Lt. Mark Chapman joined CAP in the seventh grade. He attended the NCO Academy and winter survival school, as well as National Blue Beret in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

“I had wanted to join the military since I was 5 years old,” Chapman said. “Being in CAP enabled me to better prepare myself for what lay ahead.”

Damon Watkins, a cadet in Marine Corps ROTC at Norwich, agreed, saying his time as a CAP cadet in Ohio helped prepare him for college.

“The transition from CAP to Norwich was fairly easy,” he said. “Financially, Norwich’s CAP scholarship was extremely helpful for paying tuition. But more importantly, CAP gave me a huge advantage by already knowing drill, how to make a rack and the other basics of a military lifestyle. I went in knowing what to expect.”

Since 2007, an average of five New Hampshire Wing cadets have entered Norwich University each year. Since the summer program attracts CAP cadets from across the country, an average of 25 enter Norwich annually. Cadets also have the opportunity to continue participating in CAP through the Vermont Wing’s nearby Capital Composite Squadron.

Norwich, which is celebrating its 200th birthday this year, is renowned for providing hands-on, high-quality, transformative learning experiences. The school offers 30 majors, 20 varsity sports and over 900 leadership opportunities for students in both the civilian and military lifestyles.Norwich also has a robust ROTC program with all four branches — Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. In fact, it’s the birthplace of ROTC. The university commissions more officers than any other school after the service academies.Cadets who receive a two- or three-year ROTC scholarship are eligible to use the CAP scholarship and other financial aid until the ROTC scholarship begins. Those who receive a full four-year ROTC scholarship as well as the I.D. White Scholarship for room and board aren’t eligible for the CAP scholarship.

“The success of Civil Air Patrol cadets at Norwich has been credited to the CAP program,” Shaw said. “The cadets coming to Norwich are already prepared for the rigors of their freshman year. CAP cadets are highly sought after, because the university knows the cadets have to make an extra effort to attend squadron meetings since they aren’t typically held at school.”

For more on Norwich University and the school’s CAP scholarship program, go to www.norwich.edu.

BoG’s Altieri Got His Start at Norwich

Col. Jayson Altieri, the former chair and current vice chair of Civil Air Patrol’s Board of Governors, is perhaps Norwich University’s most noteworthy CAP alumnus. He’s quick to tell everyone he knows what a good foundation the school gave him for working toward becoming a U.S. Army officer.

“Norwich University helped prepare me for a successful military career as a U.S. Army officer, leading both aviators and paratroopers in combat and peacetime operations, in part due to the university’s unique Corps of Cadets and civilian student structure,” Altieri said.

He offered this rationale for such praise of Norwich, widely known as “The Military College of Vermont”:“First, Norwich has no tactical officers or house masters assigned to the Corps and civilian halls; together cadet and civilian students lead and manage their peers under the supervision of the commandants and dean of student offices, but the day-to-day operation is run by the student leadership. This, of course, allows these developing leaders to succeed or fail based on their interaction with their own peers.

“Second, Norwich is a truly ‘joint’ operational environment, as all the services, to include Coast Guard, are represented at Norwich. Additionally, cadets are allowed to serve in the various Army, Air Force, Marine and Navy National Guard and Reserve units around New England, which gives our graduates a greater insight into the ‘Total Force’ of all services.

“Finally, our Norwich international students are essential to help develop future leaders’ ability to interact with leaders from around the globe. In my service career I have worked with men and women from all the services, both active and reserve; with civilians from the departments of Agriculture, State, Treasury, and USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development); and international civilian and military personnel on four continents. Norwich’s diversity provided and continues to provide graduates like me with a strong foundation to succeed in our global and interconnected environment.”

Altieri was a Norwich cadet in the mid-1980s, following his experiences as a Civil Air Patrol ground team leader with the Virginia Wing’s Roanoke and Blacksburg composite squadrons.

“Until my Army enlistment in 1984, I had led ground teams on numerous missing person and aircraft searches in the mountains of western Virginia,” he said. “This required a great deal of planning and leadership, especially when you are in charge of combined groups of cadets, seniors and civilian volunteers.

“Civil Air Patrol leaders like Col. Charlie Glass, Lt. Col. John Jackson, Maj. Otto Hartenstein and Capts. Melva Blake, Boots Mercer and Douglas Russell all taught me and an entire future generation of CAP leaders what we call CAP values today. The proof of how important these mentors were

in growing future Civil Air Patrol leaders is the fact that CAP Brig. Gen. Richard Anderson (a former national commander and Board of Governors chair) was also a member of both the Blacksburg and Roanoke squadrons during this time.”

These CAP experiences, along with his time as a U.S. Army noncommissioned officer, helped Altieri become a successful Norwich cadet and eventually an Army colonel. He now teaches at the National War College at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C.

“As I enter my 34th year of Army service, I continually look for new opportunities to give back to both CAP and Norwich; whether it is serving as the chair of the CAP Board of Governors, working as a Hawk Mountain staff member or serving on the Norwich University Bicentennial Committee.

“I and others of our generation, like Richard Anderson, (current CAP National Commander Maj. Gen.) Mark Smith and (former CAP National Commander Maj. Gen.) Joe Vazquez, all have an obligation to take our collective experiences from places like CAP, Norwich University and the

U.S. military to teach, coach and mentor the future leaders of our republic.

Col. Jayson Altieri, below, is a 34-year veteran of the U.S. Army. He began his military service as a cadet at Norwich University, in the photo at left.

CAP Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Damon Watkins, seen here at a promotions ceremony, served in the Lt. Jacob Parrott Composite Squadron near his hometown of Van Wert, Ohio, before attending Norwich.

Mark Chapman, center, then a CAP cadet, participates in a search and rescue exercise at National Blue Beret.

First Lt. Chapman, left, gives his first salute after being commissioned into the U.S. Army. Chapman is one of many former CAP cadets who have benefited from the ongoing partnership between CAP and Norwich University.

Marine Corps ROTC Cadet Damon Watkins is a sophomore at Norwich University. Like many students at Norwich who served as cadets in Civil Air Patrol, he has taken advantage of the school’s CAP scholarship program.