SERVING THEIR COUNTRY — Members of the Southtowns Cadet Squadron of Civil Air Patrol are shown at attention. Pictured, from left, foreground: Chad Kapturowski, Victoria Przybyl, Mike Schmid and L.T. Kozmycz. Photos by Andrew Manzella.
COLDEN — The Civil Air Patrol’s South towns cadet squadron held a ceremony to change the ranks of several members, before its annual Christmas party, at the St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Athol Springs, N.Y. on Friday, Dec. 7.
Lieutenant Jeffery Luke took over the squadron as 1st lieutenant, taking the place of Commander Dave Wharton of Colden.
The CAP is an auxiliary of the United States Air Force and functions as an emergency service. Beyond providing that service to the community, the CAP concentrates on aerospace education and cadet programs.
The cadet programs are available for both young people and adults. According to Wharton, both leadership and obedience skills are instilled in all members. Cadets who wish to move on to the Air Force when they become old enough, have the opportunity to enter at two pay grades higher than individuals who do not have a CAP background.
Although the Civil Air Patrol is part of the United States Air Force, members of the cadet programs and volunteers do not necessarily have a commitment to the Air Force.
CAP Cadets cannot actually execute their emergency response skills until they are at least 18 years old, but may learn beginning at age 12.
“Our primary focus, in the cadet programs, is leadership,” Wharton explained. “Cadets don’t learn by sitting in classrooms. They learn by doing.”
HAIL TO THE FLAG — Pictured are Lieutenant Colonel Carl Anthony and 1st Lieutenant Jeffery Luke.
Upon receiving his new rank and position as commander of the local squadron, Luke said that he intends to make “a lot of changes for the better” and that he has “a lot of goals in mind.”
Wharton, who said that he initially took over the squadron in an attempt to preserve it, a vision he said has proven successful, described the commander position as a “great learning experience” and one that he found very rewarding.
HONORING MUCH SERVICE — Dave Wharton (right) is pictured presenting his wife Paula with a plaque for everything she has done for his Civil Ar Patrol squadron.
Before stepping down from his commander position, Wharton presented his wife, Paula Wharton, with a plaque for all she has done for the squadron.
The annual Christmas party followed the change of ranks ceremony, which included all members’ standing at attention.