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Edwards CAP squadron makes comeback

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFMCNS) -- In February 2004, Edwards Civil Air Patrol Composite Squadron 84 was in danger of losing its squadron charter for various reasons. Because of this, they called in CAP Maj. Jason Markiewitz to be their commander.

In just a year and a half, the whole squadron turned their gloomy fate into a victory as they claimed the 2005 Composite Squadron of the Year for the CAP California Wing, Oct. 30 in Santa Maria, Calif.

The criteria for the award are increasing membership, supporting statewide programs and being proactive in furthering all three missions of the CAP. Those missions are emergency services, aerospace education and the cadet program, said Major Markiewitz, who is an individual mobilization augmentee captain and chief of intelligence analysis with the Air Force Flight Test Center Intelligence Directorate.

In particular, cadets attended classes to further their knowledge on emergency techniques. Senior members completed an emergency services qualification test, advance communication user training and received mission radio operator certificates. Squadron 84 members also completed desert survival training and the self-aid and buddy care program.

During this year, cadets also attended the Model Rocketry Encampment -- where four cadets earned their Model Rocketry Badges -- the National Test Pilot School field trip in Mojave and the 412th Test Wing life support field trip.

The squadron also participated in the National Cadet Week in July 2004, where they toured the flight line, NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, the armory and Airman Leadership School, while four senior leadership members completed the Aerospace Education program.

These are all in connection with one of the goals of the CAP, which is to foster education of the cadet and senior corps to achieve the three missions, Major Markiewitz said.

In conjunction with the cadet program, the squadron received 25 cadet achievements including a Wright Brothers award, an Amelia Earhart award and two Mitchell awards.

The Squadron 84 color guard has also participated in the Desert Tortoise Days Parade in California City (where they won first place), the Edwards Drug Education for Youth graduation ceremony and posted the colors for the Individual Mobilization Augmentee All-Hands Conference here. Squadron 84 has also assisted in a variety of external activities to include events at Lockheed Martin in Palmdale, Calif., and Castle Airport at Atwater, Calif.

For professional development of the CAP senior leadership, two senior members completed Squadron Leadership School and another completed Corporate Learning Course. Two senior members also completed Level III of the senior program and have been promoted to major including Major Markiewitz.

Major Markiewitz was also presented with the Top Senior Staff member award in January 2005 while serving as the Bravo Flight Tactical Officer.

Squadron 84 excelled with their recruiting program with active membership increasing by 240 percent to 17 and lifting the squadron complement from 15 to 31 total members, Major Markiewitz said.

Besides mission activities, the squadron was also involved in community activities. They adopted a lot on Edwards to support the cleanliness program of the base, volunteered to assist in the exercise planning for Edwards combat readiness, provided parking control for many events such as the 95th Services Division’s Summer Splash, crowd control, media relations, public affairs and hospitality for other events.

“The reason why we won, I think, is the sheer fact that we do more than we are expected,” Major Markiewitz said.

Civil Air Patrol is a nonprofit organization and an auxiliary of the Air Force. It has more than 58,000 members including 27,000 cadets ages 12 to 21. It is a volunteer organization and receives its funding from four major sources: membership dues, corporate donations, congressional appropriations, and private donations. CAP is also listed in the Combined Federal Campaign.