Nuneaton based Air Cadets were recently given an insight into the activities of cadets in the United States Civil Air Patrol (CAP) when former colleague, Major Andy Sumner made a return visit to his old Squadron.
Andy Sumner as some of you may know is no stranger to Nuneaton or the Air Training Corps. In fact he joined 121 ( Nuneaton ) Squadron in the 1970's as a cadet before joining the RAF. He later rejoined the unit as an Adult Warrant Officer and was subsequently commissioned into the RAFVR(T). Andy left 121 Squadron to take up the post of Officer Commanding 198 ( Hinckley ) Squadron with the rank of Flight Lieutenant before he made the life changing decision to emigrate to the US .
Andy obviously didn't leave his interest for the Air Cadet movement behind when he moved to the US . He joined the Cadet section of the Civil Air Patrol rapidly rising through the ranks and has recently been promoted to Major.
Major Sumner is now the Commanding Officer of the
VT 033 (Capitol Composite) Squadron, which is based at Edward Knapp State Airport in Vermont . A CAP Composite Squadron is a unit, which has both a senior section of adult volunteers and a cadet section.
The CAP performs three main functions; emergency services, aerospace education, and cadet training.
The CAP Cadet Program is very similar to the UK 's Air Cadet movement in that it aims to inspire the country's youth to become leaders and good citizens through their interest in aerospace activities.
There are approximately 1,700 individual units in the CAP. Each US state has its own wing which is subdivided into groups and squadrons. Membership consists of approximately 26,000 cadets and more than 35,000 adult volunteers. Members of the CAP wear the US Air Force uniform, with distinctive CAP emblems and insignia.
Flight Lieutenant Paul Hincks of 121 ( Nuneaton ) Squadron said, “We were delighted that Andy managed to find the time to drop in on us whilst he was back in the UK . It was an excellent opportunity for our cadets to get an insight into the United States Civil Air Patrol and what's more important a chance for us all to catch up on all the latest happenings within the Air Cadet movement on both sides of the pond.”
He added, “Major Andy Sumner now bears his newly acquired Gold Oak Leaf rank slides on his Civil Air Patrol uniform but it's nice to see that he still proudly wears his Air Cadet gliding badge and his Golden Jubilee Medal, both fitting reminders of his time with everyone back here at 121 ( Nuneaton ) Squadron”.
If you would like to know more about the US Civil Air Patrol visit
VT 033 Capitol Composite Squadron Vermont