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Cadets excel despite pandemic
CAP cadets
Effingham Cadet Squadron is shown during a meeting prior to pandemic restrictions. - photo by Photo submitted

RINCON — Despite the effects of the pandemic, including the shelter-in-place order and the prohibition of in-person meetings due to social distancing recommendations, several cadets in the Effingham Cadet Squadron continue to advance their training and grade in the Civil Air Patrol. 

While the squadron has been limited to virtual meetings through Google Meet and other web conferencing products, cadets have independently prepared for and taken exams and completed other activities to advance in the Civil Air Patrol Program.

The following cadets have completed requirements to advance to the either the cadet grade of cadet airman or cadet senior airman as indicated:

— Keylee Welkner promoted to C/SrA on March 19 

— Dimitri Stepanov promoted to C/SrA on March 24

— Evelyn Latimer promoted to C/Amn on March 20 2020

—  Jacob Flannery promoted to C/SrA on April 18

— Samuel Alvarez promoted to C/Amn on May 4

Capt. Mitchell Guetterman, unit commander, reflected on the efforts of the members.

“I am proud to be a part of the Civil Air Patrol and very proud of what our volunteers and cadets continue to do even through this very difficult time,” he said. “They have all stayed active and engaged with this program.” 

Maj. Danny Carter, who leads the Cadet Program for the unit, is also complementary of the efforts of the cadets and other members of the local squadron as they are representative of the mission of the Cadet Program of Civil Air Patrol which is: Transform youth into dynamic Americans and aerospace leaders.

Effingham Cadet Squadron will continue to meet virtually through web conferencing software to receive briefings and training on topics such as Internet Safety, Civil Air Patrol Radio Systems, and other technologies and techniques beneficial to the unit and the individual. The unit is awaiting direction from National Headquarters as to when local squadrons can resume face-to-face meetings; until then, it expects members to continue to demonstrate excellence.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 60,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs about 85 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 70 lives annually. 

Its unpaid professionals also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to 25,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program.

 CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for more than 72 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. 

Visit or for more information, or visit Effingham Cadet Squadron Tuesday evenings at 6:30 at 501 Richland Ave., Building 119.

Only virtual meetings will be conducted until further notice.