Rockets blaze new hope for young cadets

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Timothy Kim
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Seventeen young boys and girls watch as their rockets soar into the sky, its screams still echoing across the plains.

Seventeen young cadets watch as the rocket explodes - tiny orange embers highlighting the peak of the rockets' venture.

Seventeen young potential leaders run to the fields, hearts filled with excitement and mouths shouting exclamations of joy as they go to catch their rockets floating down to a new world below.

Parachutes gently introduce model rockets to the idea that all things with guidance are possible.

A world where education and tutelage can open new doors of opportunity.

Spangdahlem's Civil Air Patrol cadets completed their first model rocketry launch, an activity that is part of the patrol's aerospace education program, in Bettendorf, Luxembourg, March 19, 2016.

Though CAP exists throughout Europe, the branch stationed in Spangdahlem is the first to launch its model rockets amongst the overseas branches.

"I always thought it was a cool way to spend the weekend, but knowing that we're the first people to do this in Europe, it's very humbling," said CAP cadet Senior Airman Evan Richardson, cadet deputy commander. "It sets the road for other people so that they can follow us. I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was a good experience."

Civil Air Patrol Capt. Frank Schuler, aerospace education deputy commander, orchestrated in the unit's ability to perform their first launch, a program normally exclusive to the United States due to less restrictions, by opening up his private property in Luxembourg to aid the cadets in the completion of their aerodynamic education.

"The model rocketry is an important program for the stateside units, but overseas units in Europe and Asia have never done this before due to restrictions," Schuler said. "It was never possible to do it, but we're lucky here in Spangdahlem to have an opportunity to still do this program and we can launch real rockets with real engines."

The model rocketry program, though not a mandatory program, is a 3-part education that teaches young cadets on the history, techniques and details of aerodynamics which they learn by building their own model rockets at the final phase.

According to CAP 1st Lt. Patrick Murphy, CAP cadet's program commander, CAP places emphasis and supports the Science Technology Engineering mathematics program and introduces youth to military customs and gives them an advantage if they wish to join a career field specializing in aerodynamics.

"It's important to get young people involved in learning something technical that can lead to a future job in the field or joining the Air Force or Air Line pilot, technician," Murphy said. "It gets youth involved in the community as well."