Civil Air Patrol Volunteer Now

    Top CAP cadets converge in nation's capital

    March 2, 2010


    Civil Air Patrol Lifetime Member Col. Mary Feik (second from right) tours the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C., with CAP cadets attending this week’s Civic Leadership Academy.

    The 24 cadets attending the 2010 Civic Leadership Academy pose for a group photo with Col. Mary Feik (center), who accompanied them during their tour of the Air & Space Museum.

    Cadet Maj. Heather Gould of the Wyoming Wing and Cadet Lt. Col. Benton Beasley of the Tennessee Wing’ lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

    The cadets pose for another group photo at the Lincoln Memorial.

    U.S. Associate Justice Antonin Scalia (right) visits with Cadet 1st Lt. Joelah Bruccoleri of the California Wing’s Skyhawk Composite Squadron 47 after she presented him with a Civic Leadership Academy coin.

    Members of the CLA staff – (from left) Lt. Col. John Knowles of the Maryland Wing, Capt. Sharon Weeks of the North Carolina Wing, Lt. Col. John Erickson of the Alaska Wing, Lt. Col. Bill Brockman of the Florida Wing, Curt LaFond of CAP National Headquarters and Capt. Brenda Reed of the Maryland Wing
    pose for a photo with U.S. Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.
    Photo provided

    Former CAP National Cadet of the Year Darcy Burner (left) chats with Utah Wing Cadet Lt. Col. Cheston Newhall and Maryland Wing Cadet Maj. Eashan Samak after the cadets’ Pentagon tour. Burner, an Oregon congressional candidate in 2006 and 2008 who is now executive director of the political action committee, visited with the cadets at Mott House, across the street from the U.S. Supreme Court building. She talked about the roles that political action committees play in the legislative process and elections.

    (From left) New York Wing Cadet Maj. Mark Teubl, Cadet Majs. Joshua Carr of the Missouri Wing and Alice Chan of the Maryland Wing, Arizona Wing Cadet Col. Matthew Bricker and Utah Wing Cadet Lt. Col. Cheston Newhall check out the ceiling of the Rotunda while touring the U.S. Capitol.

    U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (center), R-Alaska, a member of CAP’s Congressional Squadron, listens to South Carolina Wing Cadet Capt. Sarah Sill as Alaska Wing Cadet 1st Lt. Jennifer Coisman stands by during CAP’s Legislative Day on Capitol Hill. CLA cadets joined their wing commanders and others for the annual visit to the offices of their home state senators and representatives.

    (From left) Louisiana Wing Cadet 2nd Lt. Brett Denehan joins Cadet Master Sgt. Christin McCall, Maj. Christopher Roche, Cadet Capt. Kathleen Crockett and Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Anne Sisk, all of the Maryland Wing, for a pizza party in the office of U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md. Bartlett – a member of Civil Air Patrol’s Congressional Squadron – has treated CAP volunteers to a Legislative Day lunch the past four years.

    Cadet Capt. Jordan Watson of the Washington Wing receives her Cadet Leadership Academy graduation certificate from Brig. Gen. Reggie Chitwood, CAP national vice commander. Watson was one of 24 cadets graduating from the weeklong academy, held each year in the nation’s capital.

    CLA graduates pose for a group photo with National Park Service rangers at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. The cadets went to the park for an after-graduation party to mark completion of a full week of activities in the nation’s capital.

    Cadet Capt. Nicholas Cocco of the Pennsylvania Wing takes a break outside the Lincoln Memorial during the after-graduation party.

    Photos by Capt. Brenda Reed, Maryland Wing, except where indicated

    WASHINGTON, D.C. --Twenty-four of Civil Air Patrol’s top cadets from across the nation gained a head start in their public service careers Feb. 20-27 by participating in one of America’s leading civic education activities, the Civic Leadership Academy.

    The CLA, an academically intense, interactive study of U.S. government in action, provides participants the opportunity to grow as citizens and young leaders through lessons in persuasive leadership, federal government, public service careers and American heritage.

    “Civic Leadership Academy provides cadets an unrivaled opportunity to gain a well-rounded understanding of leadership, public service and the principles that guide our nation,” said Maj. Gen. Amy S. Courter, CAP’s national commander and the academy’s founding director. “This activity empowers our cadets to apply those principles in their own lives and to be thoughtful participants in our nation’s future.”

    A real career thread runs throughout the program, said Lt. Col. Bill Brockman of the Florida Wing's SRQ Composite Squadron, CLA activity director and founding faculty member.

    In addition to a blend of field trips, lectures, seminars and assigned readings from historic and current sources, the cadets visited the U.S. Capitol; the Supreme Court; the State Department; Arlington National Cemetery, laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; the CIA; the Pentagon; legislative offices; and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, as well as the World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Women in Military Service and Lincoln memorials.

    At these locations they encountered VIP speakers who provided them with insights designed to deepen their understanding of government in action.

    “We hoped to provide the cadets attending CLA with a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of their government and how easy it is for an individual to interact with their government representatives,” Brockman said. “CLA is a challenging, intellectual study.”

    “It is a weeklong total immersion into the world of government,” added Cadet Capt. Dannie Fountain of the Michigan Wing’s Selfridge Cadet Squadron.

    The 2010 academy began Sunday with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington. Cadets had the opportunity to visit with the guards in the guardroom after the ceremony. They were briefed on the training process for new guards and given a history of the cemetery.

    “The cadets were amazed to learn the amount of time each individual tomb guard spends on preparing his uniform for duty at the Tomb,” Brockman said.

    On Monday, after a tour of the U.S. Capitol, the cadets met with retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Suter, the clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court, and U.S. Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.

     “The general spoke with the cadets about his position at the court and leadership,” Brockman said. “The general took some of the cadets to his office to see his picture of himself with Elvis Presley as a young soldier in Germany.”

    Scalia spent an hour talking with the cadets about the landmark Marbury vs. Madison case, the significance of judicial review and interpreting the Constitution.

     “The success of CLA has been to keep the cadets engaged in activities they could not do on their own,” Brockman said. “The cadets are not just learning about government, but also how to interact with government, how they can be involved to make a difference and how to look for internship opportunities.”

    On Thursday, the CLA cadets returned to Capitol Hill to participate in CAP’s 2010 Legislative Day by working alongside their wing commanders to brief U.S. legislators on how CAP’s primary missions – search and rescue, emergency services, aerospace education and cadet programs – have benefited their communities.

    Legislative Day was held in conjunction with CAP’s Winter National Board meeting Friday and Saturday at the Crystal City Marriott in Arlington, Va.

    Saturday evening, many of the cadets attended The Spaatz Association’s 2010 Annual Dinner and Awards Event. Featured speaker for the dinner was U.S. astronaut Eric Boe, the Air Force colonel and CAP senior member who piloted Space Shuttle Endeavour to the International Space Station in November 2008.

    The week’s activities seemed to be a hit with the CLA cadets.

    “It is the top NCSA (National Cadet Special Activity) I have attended,” said Cadet 1st Lt. Joelah Bruccoleri of the California Wing’s Skyhawk Composite Squadron 47. “Visiting the memorials, with Lt. Col. Brockman’s personal connection to them, helped me feel an even greater appreciation for the sacrifices that have been made for us.”

    Cadet 1st Lt. William Woodham of the Florida Wing’s Pasco County Composite Squadron found CLA “a rigorous but rewarding experience. It helped me learn to be a critical thinker. It gave me a new understanding of how the government and the democratic system work.”

    For Cadet Lt. Col. Benton Beasley of the Tennessee Wing’s Murfreesboro Composite Squadron, “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was delighted to discover that learning about our government and the American political system was enjoyable and invigorating.”

    Cadet Lt. Col. Cheston Newhall of the Utah Wing’s Thunderbird Composite Squadron provided a much simpler evaluation of the weeklong experience: “CLA rocks!”

    2010 Civic Leadership Academy graduates


    • Alabama Wing — Cadet Maj. Jonathan Ernest, Chilton County Composite Squadron.
    • Alaska Wing — Cadet 1st Lt. Jennifer Coisman, Mat-Su Valley Cadet Squadron. 
    • Arizona Wing — Cadet Col. Matthew Bricker, Cottonwood Cadet Squadron 212. 
    • California Wing — Cadet 1st Lt. Joelah Bruccoleri, Skyhawk Composite Squadron 47. 
    • Florida Wing — Cadet 1st Lt. William Woodham, Pasco County Composite Squadron. 
    • Kentucky Wing — Cadet 2nd Lt. Colin Burke, Campbell County Composite Squadron. 
    • Louisiana Wing — Cadet 2nd Lt. Brett Denehan, Barksdale Composite Squadron.
    • Maryland Wing — Cadet Majs. Alice Chan, Howard Composite Squadron, and Eashan Samak, St. Mary’s Composite Squadron.
    • Michigan Wing — Cadet Capt. Dannie Fountain, Selfridge Cadet Squadron. 
    • Missouri Wing — Cadet Maj. Joshua Carr, Springfield Regional Composite Squadron .
    • Nevada Wing — Cadet 2nd Lt. Jeni Crandy, 70th Cadet Squadron. 
    • New Hampshire Wing — Cadet Col. Vincent Van Dintel, Highlanders Cadet Squadron. 
    • New York Wing — Cadet Maj. Mark Teubl, Ulster County Composite Squadron. 
    • Ohio Wing — Cadet Capt. Bonnie Wilshire, Harrison Composite Squadron. 
    • Pennsylvania Wing — Cadet Capt. Nicholas Cocco, Delco Composite Squadron 1007. 
    • South Carolina Wing — Cadet Capt. Sarah Sill, Spartanburg Composite Squadron. 
    • South Dakota Wing — Cadet 2nd Lt. David Small, Lookout Mountain Composite Squadron. 
    • Tennessee Wing — Cadet Lt. Col. Benton Beasley, Murfreesboro Composite Squadron. 
    • Texas Wing — Cadet Lt. Col. Jose Machuca, Plano Mustangs Composite Squadron.  
    • Utah Wing — Cadet Lt. Col. Cheston Newhall, Thunderbird Composite Squadron.
    • Virginia Wing — Cadet 2nd Lt. Mary Herman, Newport-News Composite Squadron. 
    • Washington Wing — Cadet Capt. Jordan Watson, Green River Composite Squadron. 
    • Wyoming Wing — Cadet Maj. Heather Gould, Cloud Peak Composite Squadron. 


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