Columbia Composite Squadron has a strong Cadet Program.
Cadets fly, learn to lead, camp, get in shape and push themselves to new limits. If you’re considering a career in aviation, space, have thoughts of joining the military, or want to learn leadership skills for life, CAP can help you achieve your goals.
Youth can join CAP as cadets between the ages of 12 and 18. Cadets can stay in the cadet program until they turn 21, which can allow them to achieve high rank or attend a variety of exciting national activities. (If you join after your 19th birthday, you join as an adult).
Flying – Each cadet is entitled to five flights in a powered aircraft and five flights in a non-powered aircraft. Our squadron coordinates what we call “Orientation Rides” for our cadets. We find pilots from other squadrons who are qualified as O-Ride pilots and then we request the use of one of our Cessna 182s – of which 8 are assigned to the Oregon Wing. There is a training level the cadet experiences for each flight, getting more involved in the control of the aircraft and and gaining a deeper understanding of the principles of flight each time. These are not official pilot training hours, but they give a good understanding and feel for flying small aircraft.
CAP also has gliders located in Washington State, and the glider program is operated by the Washington Wing. Cadets can arrange to take part in this program, but they need to work with their parents for transportation.
Aerospace Education – Cadets are intrigued by aircraft. We give them lots of exposure to aviation with an annual trip to an aviation museum, field trips such as touring Horizon Air at PDX, or the Control Tower at PDX, etc. Cadets can fly on a C-17 (large Air Force cargo aircraft) on trips organized by the Oregon Wing that originate at McChord Air Force Base in Washington. The cadets also gain aviation experience by building model airplanes and rockets.
Color Guard – Our Color Guard team is very active. We presented colors at a burial service for a homeless Navy veteran recently, at the Oregon Institute of Technology graduation, at Massing of the Colors each October, at Wreaths Across America each December, at the Memorial Day celebration at Willamette National Cemetery each May, and many other events and occasions.
Leadership – You learn about leaders by reading about them. Our Aerospace Education Officer, Maj John Bezayiff, says, “Leaders are readers,” so he asks our cadets to read books, and then report on them to the squadron. Cadets also study leadership chapters from CAP National’s training program and take tests on the principles they learn. There are many opportunities for cadets to step into leadership roles in the squadron where they can apply the leadership lessons they are learning. Our cadets plan and run our Cadet Program under adult oversight.