Civil Air Patrol members fly on C-17 Cargo Plane

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MARTINSBURG, West Virginia

50 Civil Air Patrol (CAP) members flew on a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft courtesy of the 167th Airlift Wing, West Virginia Air National Guard on Friday, July 22, 2016.

Colonel Shaun Perkowski, the installation commander, met with the group before the flight launched, thanking the members for their volunteer service and shared about his Air Force career. Captain Jacob Bixler presented the Virginia Wing Civil Air Patrol coin as a token of appreciation for approving the flight. Members consisted of personnel from both Virginia and West Virginia Wings.

The orientation flight departed from the base and flew deep into southern West Virginia before looping back around to Martinsburg. Cadets were permitted to walk around the aircraft and also sat briefly in the cockpit and chatted with the pilots during the flight. A select few cadets experienced the take off and landings from the cockpit (tactical landings were exercised by the pilots for training).

Captain Jacob Bixler, Deputy Commander for Winchester Composite Squadron, helped coordinate the activity. Along with his volunteer service in CAP, he serves with the 167th Airlift Wing as a Cyber Transport Apprentice and Base Communications Planner in the 167th Communications Flight.

After landing, the group enjoyed lunch in the dining facility while listening to Chief Master Sergeant Jeffrey Gengler, the base fire chief, and the base’s Command Chief, Chief Master Sergeant Ronald Glazer, Sr., share their experiences in the Air National Guard. Various units from the installation also shared with the cadets the duties and responsibilities of their career fields with table displays. Chief Glazer commented, “Seeing our nation’s future leaders in the room gave me pause, as the cadets listened to my words of encouragement for them to succeed. Moments like these are precious to me. I’m able to show off our wing while trying to influence young men and women as they consider military service as a possible career, and a path to pay for college.”

The activity was a great experience for the cadets that attended. Various cadets shared that the activity was the “best” activity they did all summer, while others thought of it as one of the best experiences they’ve had in CAP thus far.

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force, which consists of regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees. CAP, in its Total Force role, operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 78 lives annually. Civil Air Patrol’s 56,000 members nationwide also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Its members additionally play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program. Performing missions for America for the past 75 years, CAP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit www.capvolunteernow.com for more information.

Contact info: Jacob Bixler – jacob.bixler@vawg.cap.gov

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