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CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  Membership  |  Topic: Contemplating joining CAP in Seattle area
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Commo
Recruit

Posts: 19
Unit: PCR-WA-002

« on: May 14, 2017, 11:24:04 PM »

Good evening, all,

A few weeks ago, I had a long and thoughtful conversation with an former active / current ANG NCO.  At the end of the talk, and in the days since, I'm considering joining CAP as a way to serve the community again in a military-ish fashion.

I'm an Army veteran with a pilot's license, and I'm interested primarily in serving in a squadron with an aviation focus.  My Army MOS was tactical communications and my civilian job is a networking consultant; if there's a need, I can support with those skills as well.

While I do want to fly, and enjoy flying, I'm not under any disillusions that CAP is way to build flight time on the cheap.  I plan to advance my ratings and fly for recreation on my own regardless.  Supporting CAP would be to support the community, not a means to an end.

My challenge at the moment, and one of the items I'm looking for feedback on:  I know nothing of CAP beyond the national / wing websites and this forum.  I've only met one individual who identified himself as CAP, and that meeting was 5+ years ago and (from what I recall) awkward.

The national website is glossy and well done by a marketing team, but it's difficult to determine where the line is between reality and marketing.

This forum is useful in providing a more down-to-earth, professional exchange amongst peers, and even with the bit of dirty laundry in housekeeping... it's real.   Kudos to the host and mods for running it.  However, as an outsider, I'm reading conversations with a context and abbreviations I don't understand.  I've had two careers (one military, one civilian), filled with TLAs and FLAs, yet neither of those careers were USAF.

As I don't know what I don't know, I'm looking for feedback from real people on three questions:

1) How much aviation and aviation support does CAP do?  I'm not discounting the training / mentoring of cadets, nor the aerospace education mission, but my interest is weighted towards aviation.

2) Are there any squadrons in the south Seattle area with a greater emphasis on the aviation side, either mission or training?  I expect that not all squadrons have assigned aircraft, and some would be more focused on the other missions, but I freely admit that I do not know how CAP is organized.  (Hence, the questions). 

3) Are there any better ways to learn about CAP beyond contacting a few squadrons and stopping by on a meeting night?  Is there "CAP for Newbs" site out there, or better yet, a CAP transition course for prior [non-USAF] service? 

I live and work in the south Seattle area.  The closest squadrons to home are Green River and Renton, while Overlake and others are near work.  With the influence of Boeing and Lewis-McChord nearby, I'd hope that CAP is at its best here, but as I said earlier:  I don't know what I don't know.

Thoughts?

Commo

 
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award
***
Posts: 27,684

« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2017, 11:39:36 PM »

3) Are there any better ways to learn about CAP beyond contacting a few squadrons and stopping by on a meeting night?  Is there "CAP for Newbs" site out there, or better yet, a CAP transition course for prior [non-USAF] service?

No - your absolute best way to learn about CAP is start contacting units, talking to CC's, and visiting units.
CAP, at the unit level, is decidedly local - you've seen the things it does from here, but
what a given unit or wing does on a regular basis can only really be ascertained...locally.

I'll leave the rest for people in WAWG to address.
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"Effort" does not equal "results".
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by eclipse. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.

Mordecai
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,015
Unit: SI

« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2017, 01:18:49 AM »

If you want missions, make sure you get your FEMA course ducks in a row, and most importantly, you will need to register with WSDOT which has preemption over air SAR in washington:
https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/aviation/SAR/
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Larry Mangum
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 649

« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2017, 09:18:47 AM »

Seattle Composite Squadron meets on Boeing Field and is very active and has a vibrant flight program. There is also a unit in Puyallup and Kent that have aircraft.
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Larry Mangum, Lt Col CAP
SWR-LA-966
NIN
VIP

Posts: 4,529
Unit: of issue

« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2017, 09:59:01 AM »

<snippage>
As I don't know what I don't know, I'm looking for feedback from real people on three questions:

1) How much aviation and aviation support does CAP do?  I'm not discounting the training / mentoring of cadets, nor the aerospace education mission, but my interest is weighted towards aviation.

As Eclipse said, thats dependent on the local unit, to a point, and on the wing in general.  For example, in some wings (mine, for example), CAP is not the primary SAR agency, so we only get a call after the fact for air support when a SAR event is ongoing.  That factors into our employment. I came from another wing that *was* the primary SAR call, and they flew *a lot*.  If a unit doesn't have a plane at the airport, you're not doing a lot of unit flying, you're going over and scheduling/checking out another unit's plane, etc.

There's flying to be had once you become a transport pilot or mission pilot.  There's FUNDED flying to be had for mission profiles, crew training, etc.  There are flaming hoops to be leapt thru to obtain that, but you know that already, I think.


Quote
2) Are there any squadrons in the south Seattle area with a greater emphasis on the aviation side, either mission or training?  I expect that not all squadrons have assigned aircraft, and some would be more focused on the other missions, but I freely admit that I do not know how CAP is organized.  (Hence, the questions). 

You know where the units are, so yeah, your best bet is shop around. You're in a bit of a "catbird seat" here in that you have some selection. Go to each and see.  See what unit gives you the best vibe. Which one says "Hey, yeah, come on in here, lets talk.." and the one that goes "Oh, uh, you're a pilot? Uhhhh, yeah, we're not sure what pilots exactly do..."

Quote
3) Are there any better ways to learn about CAP beyond contacting a few squadrons and stopping by on a meeting night?  Is there "CAP for Newbs" site out there, or better yet, a CAP transition course for prior [non-USAF] service? 

Not precisely, no.  You best bet is to go to the local unit(s) which is where you'll be participating, and talk to them and get a feel for their training and manning. There might be a unit with a lot of former Army guys in it who can "translate." You might run into one closer to Fort Lewis that has a higher percentage of folks like that, for example.  Since everybody's experience varies, its hard to "translate" that in a website or something. I'm former Army, but I started in CAP, so I have no need to translate.  I just do it! :)
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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
Commo
Recruit

Posts: 19
Unit: PCR-WA-002

« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2017, 11:30:18 AM »

Seattle Composite Squadron meets on Boeing Field and is very active and has a vibrant flight program. There is also a unit in Puyallup and Kent that have aircraft.

Thank you for the info, Larry.

What is the Kent squadron you are referring to?  Is this the Green River composite squadron that meets in Auburn and I assume flies out of the Auburn airport?  I don't see a squadron listed in Kent, and Kent doesn't have a municipal airport.  The airpark (Crest S36) is where I've flown from before and is in Kent, but it's an airpark. 

Puyallup and Boeing Field could be good options, although rush hour commute times would be problematic.  If I still owned a plane in partnership, commuting from Crest would be the fastest :D.

Thanks,

Commo
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Commo
Recruit

Posts: 19
Unit: PCR-WA-002

« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2017, 11:36:31 AM »

Thank you for the input, all.

(I meant that last note to be a private question to Larry.  Oops.  New forum and all).

I'll check out the squadrons suggested.  I hoped to find and read that "CAP transition guide" before meeting with a squadron, so I know what to look for and what questions to ask, but diving in feet first works too.

Thank you,

Commo
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baronet68
Forum Regular

Posts: 106
Unit: PCR-WA-001

McChord.org
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2017, 11:37:01 PM »

Seattle Composite Squadron meets on Boeing Field and is very active and has a vibrant flight program. There is also a unit in Puyallup and Kent that have aircraft.

There's no unit in Kent, but Renton is to the North and Green River is to the South.

For flying, you really should look at joining Seattle Wing Seattle Squadron as they have a very active flying program.
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Michael Moore, Maj, CAP
Member-at-Large, WAWG
wacapgh
Forum Regular

Posts: 175

« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2017, 03:21:38 PM »

Seattle Composite Squadron meets on Boeing Field and is very active and has a vibrant flight program. There is also a unit in Puyallup and Kent that have aircraft.

Thank you for the info, Larry.

What is the Kent squadron you are referring to?  Is this the Green River composite squadron that meets in Auburn and I assume flies out of the Auburn airport?  I don't see a squadron listed in Kent, and Kent doesn't have a municipal airport.  The airpark (Crest S36) is where I've flown from before and is in Kent, but it's an airpark. 

Puyallup and Boeing Field could be good options, although rush hour commute times would be problematic.  If I still owned a plane in partnership, commuting from Crest would be the fastest :D.

Thanks,

Commo

Yes, Green River meets in Auburn at the Auburn Eagles Aerie (702 M St SE, Auburn, WA 98002). Please feel free to stop by tomorrow night at 1900 and check us out.
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Live2Learn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 396

« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2017, 02:36:06 PM »

For flying, you really should look at joining Seattle Wing Seattle Squadron ...

Nice slip and correction.
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Commo
Recruit

Posts: 19
Unit: PCR-WA-002

« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2017, 11:31:20 AM »

Quote
Yes, Green River meets in Auburn at the Auburn Eagles Aerie (702 M St SE, Auburn, WA 98002). Please feel free to stop by tomorrow night at 1900 and check us out.

Thank you, sir. 

It was a pleasure to meet you last night.  Thank you for taking the time to start bringing me up to speed on both CAP and your squadron.  I'm not at take-off speed yet, but I reached a fast taxi.

Commo

[fixed quotes]
« Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 03:23:40 PM by SarDragon » Logged
Storm Chaser
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,673

« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2017, 06:03:13 AM »

1) How much aviation and aviation support does CAP do?  I'm not discounting the training / mentoring of cadets, nor the aerospace education mission, but my interest is weighted towards aviation.

A lot, but it depends greatly on where you live and what unit you belong to. In Florida Wing, especially where I live, we fly almost every day. We support several Air Force missions and have a few MOUs that keep us in the air quite a bit, in additional to the local exercises, orientation flights, etc. Unfortunately, in some states/geographical areas there aren't many CAP flying opportunities available. It really depends of where you are.

2) Are there any squadrons in the south Seattle area with a greater emphasis on the aviation side, either mission or training?  I expect that not all squadrons have assigned aircraft, and some would be more focused on the other missions, but I freely admit that I do not know how CAP is organized.  (Hence, the questions).

There are a few squadrons in the area depending on how much you're willing to drive. Check the Washington Wing website for more information about local units.

3) Are there any better ways to learn about CAP beyond contacting a few squadrons and stopping by on a meeting night?  Is there "CAP for Newbs" site out there, or better yet, a CAP transition course for prior [non-USAF] service?

Not really. You can continue to read this board, capmembers.com, and wawg.cap.gov for information, but CAP is very localized, meaning that while CAP is a nationwide organization with a presence in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, membership, training opportunities, activities, and operations vary from wing to wing and from unit to unit. Visiting several units more than once will give you a better perspective of CAP in your area.
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