Civil Air Patrol to hold open house

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

Children and adults will be able to learn more about a local program dedicated to aerospace education, leadership skills and community service.

The United States Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol Squadron, of the Southern Crescent, will hold a free open house, this Saturday, said Capt. John Kimberly, squadron commander.

The informational event will take place from 10 a.m., to 4 p.m., at the Griffin Composite Squadron Building, 109 Airport Road, in Griffin, he said.

The squadron serves young people and adults who reside in Clayton, Henry, Spalding, Pike, Lamar, Fayette and Butts counties. "We are an official auxiliary to the United States Air Force," added Kimberly. "We're funded through the Air Force."

At least one representative of the U.S. Air Force will be present, Saturday, and will provide an exhibit at the event.

Detailed information about the program will be showcased through various methods, including videos and squadron performances, such as drill-and color-guard routines, Kimberly said. There will also be two Civil Patrol airplanes at the open house, he added.

Attendees will be able to purchase a smoked barbecue plate for $8, or a whole smoked barbecue pork butt, for $34, he said . The pork butts will weigh between eight and 10 pounds.

Kimberly said the squadron is composed of males and females, ages 12 and up. There are two groups in the squadron, including cadets, ages 12, to 21, and senior members, 21 and up.

A new member will spend about $200 to enroll in the program, Kimberly said. This includes the annual membership and uniform.

"My squadron has 105 members right now," said Kimberly. He added that members of the squadron are able to obtain their pilot's license at a lower cost. Generally, he said, a civilian would pay about $9,000 for a pilot's license, but Civil Air Patrol members only pay about $1,000.

"They get to do a lot of high-adventure things," he said. The cadets participate in various encampments throughout the year in various locations in Georgia and Florida, said the squadron commander.

The repelling tower, jump tower, M-16 computer simulator shooting range and flights in military helicopters, are available at the encampments, he added.

The cadet program has a military-style discipline and structure, in order to teach participants leadership skills, emergency services and advanced aerospace education, said Kimberly.

Once a cadet turns 18 years old, he or she can join the Air Force, and will usually gain two stripes on his or her shoulder, symbolizing that the individual is a senior airman, he said.

Kimberly added that senior members are called upon to do special Air Force missions. He explained that when Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana in 2005, members were sent down to the Gulf of Mexico, to provide relief efforts and conduct search-and-rescue missions.

"The Civil Patrol Squadron is a volunteer organization," he said. "We are not a fighting [force]. We are a civilian auxiliary, rescue and disaster relief. We are not deployed anywhere."

For more information, visit the local Civil Air Patrol Squadron's web site, at www.griffincap.org.