Cadets representing 13 countries will visit Civil Air Patrol squadrons in the U.S. as participants in next year’s International Air Cadet Exchange program. The program, now more than 60 years old, promotes international friendship and understanding through a common focus on aviation.
Maj. Gen. Amy Courter, CAP National Commander, with Executive Director Don Rowland and Lt. Col. Beverly Scoggins, CAP’s volunteer IACE assistant director, represented the Air Force auxiliary at IACE’s annual planning conference held recently in Hong Kong. CAP committed to accepting cadets from Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
“IACE provides youth the opportunity to learn more about our world,” Courter said. “Through this program, CAP develops mature, well-rounded cadets into young adults who will be prepared to tackle world issues diplomatically because of their IACE experience.”
This past summer, members of 14 CAP wings participated in IACE without leaving the country by hosting cadets from other nations. Similarly to their American counterparts abroad, CAP’s international guests experienced a variety of activities, both cultural and aviation-related. The Maryland Wing hosted five IACE participants from Hong Kong and Israel. The cadets stayed with host families, were treated to orientation flights on CAP aircraft, flew in Blackhawks sponsored by the Maryland Army National Guard and visited the CAP National Honor Guard Academy, Gettysburg National Battlefield, Inner Harbor in Baltimore, the Baltimore Ravens training camp and Hershey Park.
IACE began in 1947, when the Air League of Canada suggested exchange visits with CAP wings on its border. With assistance from Maj. Gen. Lucas V. Beau, CAP-U.S. Air Force national commander from 1947 to 1955, the exchange of male cadets was sanctioned in August of 1948. The first official exchange consisted of 24 cadets and two escorts from each country.
The United States is one of 19 member countries participating in the International Air Cadet Exchange Association, which has been exchanging cadets for more than 60 years.