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Civil Air Patrol’s “1972 Annual Report to Congress” reported that:
“In July, 63 male Cadets attended the Air Force Academy Survival Course at the Air Force Academy, Colorado. The course is the same course given to Air Force Academy cadets and includes training in water survival, living off the land, and developing life-sustaining techniques in mountainous country.”
It accomplished that and more. . .
On the surface it was a new travel experience, and the challenge of outdoor adventures with a group of exceptional Cadet leaders. For some, it was simply a refresher. For many more, it was a great introduction to the art of survival. We were all challenged to learn, to perform hands-on tasks, and then demonstrate those learned skills on-the-spot.
Most importantly, we were all tested mentally and physically. I don’t think anyone left Saylor Park, and the mighty Rampart Range, without knowing more about themselves, their abilities, and limitations.
We all learned and we all grew. I know I did.
Like many other Civil Air Patrol (CAP) members, my CAP Cadet Program years are among my fondest memories. For me, the Cadet Program was more than just a weekly meeting with, drill, book work and inspections. That was just the “price of admission” to a larger world.
Cadets of today ask me, “What was it like to be a Cadet then?”
Well, for me, the Special Activities, like the U.S. Air Force Academy Survival Course, was one of many opportunities to learn, to grow, and to lead. Now, in 2018, memories of that very special “Special Activity” came back with crystal clarity. Aided by my files and personal journal this is a window into that time.