It was a beautiful sunny day on Saturday July 7th, 2012 when a UH 60 Black Hawk Helicopter landed at Fulton County’s Charlie Brown Airport to take the cadets of the Fulton Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol on their first helicopter orientation flight. This marked a historic and exciting moment for the cadets. Although many of them had already participated in orientation flights in the past on Cessna 172 or 182 airplanes, they looked forward to flying in the Army helicopter and they were not disappointed. “I didn’t expect that we were going to fly with the doors open and I didn’t know the helicopter could do some of those maneuvers”, said Cadet Keenan Alexander, Squadron Element Leader.
This activity had been in the planning for a few months, as Colonel Brent Bracewell (former Cmdr. of the 78th Aviation Troop Command and now Director of the Georgia Guard’s Joint Staff), was instrumental in getting it approved for the Squadron. Captain Stephen Boda led a team of 4 crew members who operated the aircraft and took the cadets on a 45 – 60 minute flight around the Atlanta metropolitan area. The cadets were excited about participating in this activity, as many of them have aspirations to join the Armed Forces one day.
The 78th Aviation, headquartered at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, provides command and control, air movement, and air assault operations in support of combat operations worldwide. Units of the command have been deployed to Iraq in recent years to provide command, control and communication enhancement, as well as movement of cargo and troops, and MEDEVAC support, to coalition forces.
The Fulton Composite Squadron currently has a total of 22 cadets in the cadet program and 25 Senior members. Cadets involved in the program can range in ages from 12 – 21. These cadets progress at their own pace through a 16-step program including aerospace education, leadership training, physical fitness and moral leadership. Cadets can compete for academic scholarships to further their studies in fields such as engineering, science, aircraft mechanics, aerospace medicine, meteorology, as well as many others. Those cadets who earn cadet officer status may enter the Air Force as an E3 (airman first class) rather than an E1 (airman basic). For more information about the Cadet Program, please contact the Deputy Commander of Cadets, 1Lt Carl Matthews (770-996-9089) or visit www.ga109.org.