Special to the Journal
Civil Air Patrol Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Frederick R. Broome III, 17, of Leesburg plunged into the exciting world of U.S. Air Force combat controllers at the Air Force Combat Control Orientation Course held July 31 to Aug. 6 at Pope Air Force Base, N.C.
This activity was a one-week introduction to the rigorous mission of Air Force Combat Control and the Special Tactics Officer Career fields. In this course, students were exposed to history of Combat Control, military parachute operations and freefall, weapon familiarization, air traffic control, close air support operations, rope work, and ‘Air Force Special Tactics’ tactics, techniques and procedures. This is a high-adventure activity that promotes physical fitness & builds character. During the entire course, attention to detail was stressed.
“If I could have changed one thing before I went to CCOC, it would have been to make sure everything was perfect to CAP (Civil Air Patrol) regulations. It would have saved my arms and fingers because I had to do push-ups for having my American flag patch out of place by barely a quarter of an inch, then had to re-sew the patches on my uniforms that night. If I am not wearing my uniform properly and with pride, then I must not really care about what I am doing in the CAP,” said Cadet Broome
The event included cadets from 13 states filling the 20 available slots. Cadets were considered for selection only if they were class one physically fit, over the age of 15, had completed one basic encampment, had passed a physical fitness test, and were the rank of cadet staff sergeant or higher.
Upon arrival to the course, cadets had to retake and pass another PT test. Both times, the PT tests consisted of 35 push-ups in two minutes, a two minute rest followed by 45 Crunches in 2 minutes. The applicant was allowed an additional 2 minute rest then must complete a Flexed Arm Hang with a minimum of ten seconds above the bar. The test continues with a 1.5 mile run that must be completed in 14 minutes or less and after an additional 15 minute rest swim on the surface for 200 meters in less than 6 minutes.
“I really thought that if I was able to pass this I would be fine; however, PT was incredibly tough for me. I would have done a lot more training beforehand if I had known what it would be like. We worked out at least an hour every morning, ran everywhere we went, always carried rucksacks and helmet, and were given extra PT anytime a point had to be made by senior staff,” said Cadet Broome.
Through its cadet program, CAP special activities and courses such as this, CAP builds strong citizens for the future by providing leadership training, technical education, discipline and hands-on experience as well as scholarships and career education to young men and women ages 12 to 20.
Cadet Broome has been a CAP cadet since September 2009. He is currently the cadet first sergeant for the Albany Composite Squadron.
The Albany Composite Squadron meets at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport in Albany each Tuesday at 7 p.m. and welcomes anyone, cadet age or adult, to become a member. Being a pilot is not required, just an interest in doing something for your community and your nation. The Albany Composite Squadron is the oldest Civil Air Patrol Squadron in Georgia.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 59,000 members nationwide. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 72 lives in fiscal year 2009. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counterdrug missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to the more than 24,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. CAP has been performing missions for America for more than 68 years. For more information on CAP, visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com
Fredrick Broome of Leesburg (right), pictured with Adam Flanick of Maryland during Civil Air Patrol graduation, recently trained with U.S. Air Force combat controllers in North Carolina.