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Civil Air Patrol offers cadets training in 'Air Force values'
Civil Air Patrol
Members of the Effingham Civil Air Patrol Cadet Squadron GA-453 get ready to say the Pledge of Allegiance during a recent meeting. - photo by Photo by Rick Lott

There is a program available to Effingham County youth where all through the year they can learn about self-achievement and personal growth while learning to serve their community. And it’s the only program available where they can learn about aerospace, emergency services and flying.

Captain Jeff Lariscy is currently commander of the Effingham Cadet Squadron GA-453 and also is currently director of Technology with the Effingham County School System. Meeting every other Tuesday evening cadets have classroom studies in areas of aerospace education, emergency services and the cadet program. 

At their meeting on Tuesday, a mother-son duo were promoted and pinned in a ceremony featuring state Vice-Commander, Richard Bush. Jacob Flannery moves up to 2nd Lieutenant while his mother, JoEllen Flannery also achieves 2nd Lieutenant as a senior member. Also, Cadet Navian Doyle was promoted to the rank of Cadet Staff Sergeant and recognized for completing requirements for the Wright Brothers Award. 

Captain Lariscy said cadets learn how to drill and marching based on Air Force methods. The core values of civil air patrol are integrity, voluntary service, excellence, and respect. He said these are also the Air Force values with the exception of respect, which they hold the cadets to.

Captain Lariscy and Major Frank Knight are currently in training to be ground team certified, a result of having left the CAP earlier and now rejoined. That is quite a process, as they have to learn how to use a compass, get their bearings, travel across and do land navigation, and be self-sufficient. 

This is key to the Effingham Squadron being able to participate in some of the more high profile CAP activities, among which is participating in multi-agency search and rescue operations. Lariscy said if a need arises locally, they cannot self-deploy, but must coordinate through the state CAP Commander. 

He said, “We’re working toward that, we’re starting our emergency services training with the cadets, we want them to participate in emergency services whether it be search and rescue, or simply response after a storm, we want them to be able to participate in a response.” 

There are currently 17 cadets in the Effingham program. They pay dues, buy their uniform and boots, and begin putting together what’s called a 24-hour pack for occasions where they are working search and rescue or other functions away from home. 

As part of their meetings every month, cadets have core values training, character development, safety, aerospace lessons, drill and practice and STEM lessons. Several cadets recently participated in orientation flights out of the Statesboro-Bulloch County Airport and attended training with cadets from Statesboro Composite Squadron.

The differences between someone participating in civil air patrol versus the ROTC are varied. A Civil Air Patrol cadet can begin at 12 years of age, where ROTC programs begin at the high school level. Another difference is that cadets can experience an orientation flight in a Cessna 172-182. 

Another big difference with the ROTC programs are that it is a class at school, so it’s an everyday thing. Radio operations training and emergency preparedness training are also features of the Civil Air Patrol mission. One other key difference is that under the Air Force umbrella, Civil Air Patrol units are tasked with actual missions, giving the cadets early real-world experience.

Lariscy credits Superintendent Dr. Yancy Ford of the Effingham County School District and school and district administration for the growth the program has recently seen. 

“Without the cooperation and support of Dr. Ford and other administrators in the district, we would not have been able to share information about this very exciting opportunity for young people,” he said. 

“We are very grateful for the support provided by the Effingham County Board of Education.”