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Hernando Civil Air Patrol cadets complete summer encampment, take honors

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Thirteen Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Cadets from the Hernando County Composite Squadron joined other cadets from across the state last week for the Florida Wing Summer Encampment. Held at the Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, the annual encampment provides CAP cadets with a week of intense training in leadership, character development, physical training, military drill, team building, emergency services, and aerospace education.

13-year-old Cadet Senior Airman Amelia Lyon of the Hernando County Composite Squadron was named the Outstanding Student for the encampment. Lyon, who was chosen for the honor from a field of over 200 cadets, was also recognized as a member of the Honor Flight, the encampment’s highest-performing cadet unit. Speaking on receiving the award, Cadet Lyon was quick to credit those around her. Cadet Lyon said, “It was such an honor to receive the Cadet of the Encampment award. I cannot begin to explain how ecstatic I was to be awarded with this title. Though I received the award, I would never have achieved as much without staff and friends. No matter how tough it was, they were always there to keep me going.” She added, “I am so thankful for all of the staff and cadets who attended, as I could not have gotten where I am today without them.”

This year marked the third year of encampment for 15-year-old Hernando Squadron Cadet 1LT Trinity St. Pierre. Serving as a Flight Commander, she led the 17 cadets in her flight to multiple awards, including “Drill Flight.” St. Pierre quickly credited her Flight Sergeant, Cadet Master Sergeant Rodrigo Ma-Pinto, with helping to win the prize. The award is given to the flight most proficient at military drills. She said, “We were able to build them up from basic skills and have them performing as a team in as little as seven days.” The flight won several other awards, including “Warrior Flight,” leading to the recognition of Ma-Pinto as “Outstanding NCO.”

Other Hernando County Cadets completing the encampment were: C/SSgt Mckayla R Deeg, C/Amn Rory Morrow Gulick, C/SrA Garett Witt Gulick, C/A1C James L.D. Haponski, C/SSgt Benjamin Hendry, C/SrA Leah Lynn Herby, C/A1C Clara Madeline Mothershed, C/A1C Jamen Quast, C/SrA Jacob Michael Robens, C/A1C John Kelly Sandifer, and C/SSgt Faith Marie St. Pierre.

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The encampment comes on the heels of a busy training year for the local cadets, who recently completed certification courses in CPR, First Aid, Radio Operations, and Search and Rescue. The certifications allow the cadets to serve as fully qualified Ground Team members in some real-world search and rescue missions undertaken by the Civil Air Patrol.

The Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and is tasked with over 90 percent of land-based search and rescue missions in the United States. While flight operations for search and rescue and disaster relief missions are conducted exclusively by adult members of CAP, cadets can qualify in various mission support fields. Roles such as ground team members, radio operators, and flight line marshallers are open to cadets who meet rigorous training criteria. Cadets are also eligible for several orientation flights in CAP-owned aircraft and occasional military orientation flights in larger aircraft.

Cadet membership in Civil Air Patrol is open to students 12-17 years old. Senior membership is open to those 18 or older. Interested persons are invited to attend one of the Squadron’s regular meetings on Tuesday nights at 6:30 PM. The squadron is located at 3151 Air Commerce Blvd., Brooksville, FL 34604

More information on Civil Air Patrol can be found at https://www.gocivilairpatrol.com.

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