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International and local Civil Air Patrol cadets visit Sheppard

  • Published
  • By Cadet Third Class Justin North
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
For the past three years, cadets from the International Civil Air Patrol Cadet Exchange Program come to Sheppard to learn the importance of the different types of training.

The cadets are from 22 different countries and stay in the United States for two weeks. In return U.S. Civil Air Patrol cadets tour those same foreign countries for two weeks. The international cadets toured Sheppard July 23 one day during their two weeks.

While at Sheppard the cadets took a windshield tour of the base and were allowed to use the T-38 simulators at the 80th Flying Training Wing.

Marvin Lee a 17-year-old from Delta, British Columbia, Canada, said, he was impressed by the size of Sheppard and the various training tools here.

"Sheppard is a big base with a lot or resources," Marvin said.

Most of the cadets have never seen a base as large as Sheppard, or one that has as many aircraft. Their visit to Sheppard can sometimes be overwhelming because they have never seen a base as diversified in training.

Also while in the United States the international cadets experienced southern culture by attending a rodeo, horse back riding and camping in cabins in Oklahoma.

Mr. Joe Smith, the Texas Wing Commander of CAP and head of the international exchange, said the exchange program helps foster an international partnership among countries.

"(The program is) important to the United States because having international visitors builds good will with potential leaders in foreign countries, an important initiative for foreign policy," he said.

The international exchange program started bringing their cadets to Sheppard three years ago. Before then, the cadets visited Vance Air Force Base, Okla. Mr. Smith said with the Euro NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program, Sheppard is a much better base for the cadets to see an international military mission.

"Team Sheppard makes a really good impression on the cadets," he said "they put in a lot of time and effort into the program."

Mr. Smith said Sheppard is the high point of the international exchange tour. The cadets look forward to seeing a large all-encompassing training base he said.

The international cadets weren't the only ones who visited Sheppard. A CAP squadron from Plano, Texas toured the base on July 25.

The local CAP squadron is broken down into two groups: cadets and senior members. Cadets are children 12-18 and senior members are 21 and up. The local CAP has two primary missions, one to provide aerospace education for cadets, and two, to aid in the search for downed aircraft within the United States. In addition, the cadets practice drill and learn certain military customs and courtesies.

Squadron Commander Captain Fletcher Sharp said, "If you're interested in aerospace education, (CAP) is a great program."

The Plano Mustangs Composite Squadron, like the international cadets, toured the base and had the opportunity to fly the T-38 simulators.

"The base was really nice and I loved the simulators," said 16-year-old Grayson Strakele.

Most of the cadets in CAP have military aspirations and a desire to fly for the Air Force. Maj. Doug Russell, 89th Flying Training Squadron and a former CAP cadet for four years prior to joining the Air Force said this is how he got his start. "(CAP) was my first leadership experience," he said. "It's a good experience to get your feet wet."