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CAP cadets learn Air Force, Vandenberg mission

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --  Staff Sgt. Michael Gibson II, a 30th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technician, shows cadets from the Civil Air Patrol the F6 robot used for disposing of explosives ordinances safely.   (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Satran)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Staff Sgt. Michael Gibson II, a 30th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technician, shows cadets from the Civil Air Patrol the F6 robot used for disposing of explosives ordinances safely. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Satran)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --  Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Joe Vanherweg, Civil Air Patrol cadet, shakes hands with the F6 robot used for handling explosives during a visit to the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron's explosive ordnance disposal flight.(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Satran)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Joe Vanherweg, Civil Air Patrol cadet, shakes hands with the F6 robot used for handling explosives during a visit to the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron's explosive ordnance disposal flight.(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Satran)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --  Staff Sgt. Jonathan Homer, a 30th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technician, teaches Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Jerry Jacobs, a Civil Air Patrol cadet, how to use the quick release for the EOD 9 bombsuit July 24 here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Satran)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Staff Sgt. Jonathan Homer, a 30th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technician, teaches Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Jerry Jacobs, a Civil Air Patrol cadet, how to use the quick release for the EOD 9 bombsuit July 24 here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Satran)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Civil Air Patrol cadets from across the U.S. converged on Vandenberg July 20-26 for an Air Force Space Command familiarization course. 

The cadets toured facilities around the base, including the ICBM Heritage Museum, Space Launch Complex-3, the 576th Flight Test Squadron and 30th Security Forces Squadron's combat arms flight. 

"National activities are important in that they get cadets excited about Civil Air Patrol and serving their country," said 1st Lt. Adam Brandao, who is also a cadet captain. "It gives them a really good definition of what the Air Force considers 'aerospace' to be." 

It was gaining that insight on the Air Force's space and missile mission that the cadets considered to be the best part of the trip. For example, they were able to tour different historical sites and museums on base, seeing artifacts such as an SR-71 drone. 

"It seemed like they really enjoyed the museum tour," said Lieutenant Brandao, who is stationed at Malmstrom AFB, Mont. "It showed them some equipment that there isn't a lot of in the world. Not only that, but the gentleman giving the tour was amazing - a retired missile maintenance fellow. He really kept it fun for them." 

They also had a chance to see a simulated test launch. 

"I really enjoyed the missile procedures trainer," said Cadet 2nd Lt. A.J. Eaton, of Kansas City, Mo. "I've seen this stuff in movies, but I never really knew what went on. We actually got to turn the key in a simulated launch." 

Not only did the cadets learn about missile launches, but they also learned the Air Force has a wide variety of careers from which officer and enlisted Airmen can choose. Besides seeing security forces at work, the cadets also visited the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron's explosive ordnance disposal flight, the 614th Air Operations Center, and the 30th Medical Group. 

"A lot of this is meeting people and learning about different Air Force careers," Cadet Eaton said. "By the end o f this activity I want to have a much better understanding about different Air Force careers and opportunities than when I came in." 

While the cadets had a multitude of national events to choose from - pilot shadow, Air Force weather course or even a pararescue orientation course - they all said they made the right choice in coming to Vandenberg. 

"I joined CAP not knowing what was up," said Cadet Airman 1st Class Dylan Mayo, of Palm Springs, Calif. "I came to this and now I'm going to tell other people about it - how much fun it is and all the things you learn. I'm really happy I did this."