Open House Success On All Points

Houston, TX – May 5, 2015 – The flyers advertising the squadron open house for the Thunderbird squadron read:

Would you like to honor and serve America?

Do you want to prepare for your future while making new friends?

Then rise to the challenge of cadet membership in the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol.

And rise to the challenge they did! Scores of current members and dozens of prospective members braved rain and flood for the meet-and-greet event at the Bear Creek Community Center.

The pitch of the flyer was:

“Cadets fly, learn to lead, hike, camp, get in shape, and push themselves to new limits. Seniors fly, mentor, participate in search and rescue missions, get in shape, camp, and many more exciting things. If you’re interested in any of this and more, the CAP is for YOU!”

Maj Dan Fleming was the central figure of the night. He gave a presentation on the overall mission of the Civil Air Patrol. The presentation emphasized Operations: search and rescue, Counter Drug (CD) missions, Disaster Relief (DR) and other opportunities for missions for seniors and cadets. After the presentation, Maj Fleming also talked about what CAP does in general. For example he cited the recent flood survey mission for the national Weather Service. From his experience as a mission pilot he explained what senior members could do as both air and ground crew members.

“It was a great effort directed at recruiting,” Maj Fleming explained. “When you can get that many people in one room, the interest is obvious. As I spoke to the crowd, watching the people’s reaction when the realized what CAP really does and how much their kids could get out of it was quite interesting. I could see the ‘lights come on’ as they understood the scope of what we do and the variety of our activities.”

It was clear that a lot of interested parents were looking for opportunities for their children. Several adults also expressed in being a cadet sponsor member so they could be more involved in the cadet’s participation.

1st Lt. Pamela Barnum organized the squadron sponsor members to provide the event’s refreshments and desserts. The results were good with plenty of drinks and snacks for the large turnout.

“Our sponsor members are great,” she said. “One mother brought girl scout cookies. Another parent brought lemonade and sweet tea. We have the best sponsor members!”

Besides organizing the refreshments, Pamela answered parent’s questions.

A typical question was “Can my son or daughter get a pilot’s license?”

Her answer – “Actually you can get your basic pilots license. My daughter (C/1stLt) Samantha (Branum) is getting her license. To get your pilot’s license you can use the CAP planes at the Sugarland squadron. Samantha logged 40 hours and took her FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) test and went through the ground school. Her Flight Instructor was Maj Chuck Lexa the Sabre Squadron Commander. He’s one of five flight instructors in the squadron. Private pilot’s license instruction is only available to cadets. However, senior members can receive instruction on additional ratings such as commercial pilot and flight instructor of they already have a private pilot’s license and have been a CAP members for at least a year.

Another typical question was “Would CAP benefit my cadet if they wanted to go into the military?”

Pamela answered, “It was very beneficial for my daughter Samantha. She received a full-ride scholarship into the Navy for ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) at the University of Houston. The CAP’s Billy Mitchell Award is also widely recognized across the U.S. military. Some branches, like the U.S. Air Force, will give an enlistee with the Mitchell award an automatic advancement in grade upon completion of basic training.”

“What does CAP have to offer beside the military,” some parents asked. Leadership, responsibility, respect for each other and our nation and a structured environment.

As a direct result of the open house, six cadets, three sponsor members and two senior members joined for a total of 11 new members!

What makes TX-179 so attractive? Primarily it’s the large numbers of activities that this exceptional squadron offers. The squadron has the benefit of many talented and capable senior member volunteers, a top-notch cadet officer staff, frequent field trips to interesting places, and field training exercises and activities that are just plain fun! A big plus is having things to do outside of squadron meetings. The Cadet Orientation or O-flights and glider flights are a top attraction. TX-179 also has more sponsor members now than at any time since the squadron was established. Not only does it have a large membership base, but their participation is also quite good.

This is a recipe for a squadron that one would be proud to be a member of. Little wonder the squadron motto is, “Next stop is the top!”

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TX-179 Thunderbird Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol

Our Mission:
To serve America by performing Homeland Security and humanitarian missions for our communities, states, and nation; developing our country's youth; and educating our citizens on the importance of air and space power.
Our Core Values:
Integrity, Volunteer Service, Excellence, Respect

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