By Dakota An
On Fridays after school, at 4 P.M., when most students are gone, a line of students in military uniform, badges, and combat boots marches down Tech’s halls. The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is advised by teacher Louis Morgan. Their affiliation with the national Civil Air Patrol organization is what makes this club unique.
Morgan, Captain of the Civil Air Patrol and the administrator of Brooklyn Tech’s Cadet Squadron, said the United States Congress originally created the organization in 1941 for domestic defense, even before the Air Force was established. It was meant to search for submarines with the coming of World War II, but now, the Civil Air Patrol functions as a “benevolent” organization, focusing on emergency services. For example, during Hurricane Sandy, CAP played a key role in taking aerial photos, and several Tech cadets volunteered to help.
According to Morgan, Brooklyn Tech’s chapter of the Civil Air Patrol was chartered in 1994. He came to Tech in 1993, and first encountered CAP when he saw a student in uniform. His curiosity piqued, Morgan asked the student about the organization and began to visit club meetings. Eventually, he applied for senior membership in 2004 and became an advisor in 2005. By 2009, Morgan became Squadron Commander.
As administrator, he keeps the squadron running, making most decisions on the squadron level. Day-to-day activities, however, are handled by ranking students with the Captain maintaining an overseeing role.
As a senior member of CAP, Morgan regularly undergoes training in his specialty track: being on the ground team. In this track, he says, he learns skills such as finding objectives, keeping himself safe, applying first aid, navigating maps, and using a radio. In the event of an emergency, the Office of Emergency Management can call upon Morgan. He is constantly packed with equipment for going out on short notice, such as on search and rescues.
Taylor Sloan White ’15 is one of the 23 cadets in the Cadet Squadron. As a Cadet Staff Sergeant, White is responsible for leading other cadets and organizing daily activities, and believes this experience is aiding him in his future pursuits.
“I joined because it is preparing myself for service academies, like West Point and Annapolis.”
Other than being interested in joining a branch of the Armed Forces, White added that he enjoys the challenges he faces in the CAP. Among the many squadron activities are close order drills (using flags and fake rifles), marching, and physical exercise, such as running on the 6th floor.
On weekends, White and other members often participate in search and rescue exercises, in which members can gain experience answering the radio, learning from officers, and looking for objectives. These activities all grant them qualifications to go on future missions.
According to member David Hu ’14, “Search and Rescue missions may vary depending on the situation, but the cadets, along with a senior member (an adult), are deployed to strategic locations to complete certain tasks, such as locating a lost person.”
Additionally, senior members have the opportunity to participate in orientation flights, where they use single-engine planes and act as co-pilots to official CAP pilots in Long Island at Islip MacArthur Airport. Adhering to Air Force standards, members can accumulate hours of experience and take Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) courses. According to Morgan, CAP has a large fleet of civilian planes, and attracts many private pilots to their membership.
David Hu ’14 has been with Civil Air Patrol for one and a half years. He joined to have access to the orientation flights offered, and to obtain “basic knowledge about the military.” During this time, Hu ’14 has achieved the rank of Flight Sergeant and Emergency Services Airman.
“I instruct cadets on drills and ceremonies, customs and courtesies, as well as Emergency Services. Emergency service is basically Search and Rescue (SAR) techniques as well as wilderness survival techniques.”
Hu ’14 believes that CAP offers a wide variety of experiences and opportunities to teenagers. Among the activities he has participated in with CAP are crowd control at the NYC Marathon, Search and Rescue examples, orientation flights, and participation in a color guard. He will also be attending Encampment and National Emergency Services Academy during the summer. Flight Sergeant Hu ‘14 credits CAP with his personal growth as well.
“Civil Air Patrol has changed me tremendously. Civil Air Patrol taught me to become more outgoing, disciplined, and how to become an effective leader. Drills and ceremonies helped me develop discipline and respect. By watching my flight sergeants and reading the manuals when I had just joined, Civil Air Patrol taught me how to instruct a flight. Meeting new cadets and explaining the concepts and purposes of Civil Air Patrol helped me develop a more outgoing personality.”
The program meets every Friday and some Tuesdays, but is also a “daily activity.” Morgan is in contact with high-ranking members, planning and organizing exercises and volunteer events.
Summarizing CAP’s purpose, he says, “Brooklyn Tech Cadet Squadron is a volunteer organization that enriches the community by providing leadership skills, airspace training, and emergency services.”