C/MSgt Joshua Salvato
Southwest Iowa Composite Squadron
This winter I had the honor and pleasure of expanding my Civil Air Patrol family & friends by attending The 2nd Kansas Wing Training Group Winter Encampment 2010. I travelled down to Salina, Kansas, along with C/SMSgt White, from the 26th of December until the 2nd of January. For the past 5 months I have been planning this trip to encampment, where I would give up a week of my winter break, pain, sweat, hard work, and a small fee. In exchange I would receive Physical Training, Drill and Ceremonies, and a lot of “loud voices directed at me”. “Psychotic?” You may ask. Quite simply put. Yes. And I wouldn’t trade that week for anything in world. I got to meet cadets from Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and Oklahoma. I got to improve on my personal Drill & Ceremonies performance. Get the experience of using a Guidon by becoming the Guidon Bearer for the Charlie Flight Falcons, part of Squadron 4 at the encampment. I pushed my limits farther in Physical Training. Learned how to properly make a bed, with hospital corners and an 18” total cuff, smile a pillow, organize a locker, arrange how my uniforms were folded, and roll T-shirts. I mentored younger cadets, and learned from more experienced ones. I had the privilege of helping my flight, filled with cadets of all ages, ranks, and from different backgrounds come together to form a family and team in less than a week. We got the chance of a lifetime on Wednesday to drive down to The Air National Guard 190th Air Refueling Wing and receive a VIP Flight in 2 separate planes to go Fuel 4 A-10 Warthogs on a mission at The Smokey Hills Bombing Range. I was lucky enough to be one of two cadets (out of 50 on my plane) to be able to sit in the cockpit. I got to sit next to the navigator for the taxi, take-off, and most of the flight. I then was able to travel to the back and watch the Boom Operator refuel the A-10. On Thursday we had the chance to participate in an obstacle course. My Flight ran the obstacle course in 12 minutes. Alpha Flight ran the obstacle course the fastest with a time of nine and a half minutes. The next day we were able to shoot .22 caliber rifles for a chance to qualify for the NRA Light Rifle Pro-Marksman achievement which I am pleased to say I earned. Friday ended with each flight competing in an Aerospace quiz bowl which my flight won. Saturday started with our traditional opening ceremony where Charlie Flight was named Honor Flight of the Day for Friday, Honor Flight of the Day is presented to the flight which did best overall as scored by the encampment staff for various activities and criteria. Later in the day all the flights competed in a Drill Competition which my flight won, missing only one move out of 43. Saturday came to an end with an End of Encampment Banquet where we ate, and interacted with all the other cadets. We then had some announcements made by the staff followed by awards. Several people were awarded with CAP Achievement awards and Commander’s Commendations. There were awards for Most Improved Cadet, Top Shooter, and Honor Cadet of the Encampment, of which I won Honorable Mention. Major Franz was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. And there were special presentations for Major Fortmayer, and Colonel Kuddes. Sunday morning marked the beginning of the end as we started to pack and clean the barracks, once finished we all hung out for the last time and then said farewell to our home for the past week as we departed for the National Guard Armory 3 blocks away for our Graduation ceremony. All of the cadets stood in a hallway nervous and excited for the commencement of the ceremony as the crowd filtered in through the doors. We then marched to our predetermined locations, reported, and stood awaiting the announcements of Major Lahan the Encampment Commander. The ceremony was a short one that ended with everyone scrambling to get out processed and say goodbye to all their new friends before their long drive home.
I am very pleased that I had the opportunity to go to encampment. I had the time of a life, and would recommend it to any cadet. I look forward to going to more encampments in the future, this time as staff to encourage the Basic Cadets the way my staff encouraged me.