ORLANDO, Florida — More than 800 Civil Air Patrol members will convene from Aug. 27-29 in for the organization’s 2015 National Conference, devoting several days to training, networking and focusing on the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary’s path for the future.
The conference at Walt Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin Resort will culminate with a banquet at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, featuring a keynote speech by U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Bradley A. Heithold, commander, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Florida. The command is the Air Force component of U.S. Special Operations Command, which provides Air Force special operations forces for worldwide deployment and assignment to unified combatant commanders and includes about 19,000 active-duty, Reserve, Air National Guard and civilian professionals.
Top CAP members will be honored for their service during an Awards Recognition ceremony set to begin at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 29. Those being recognized include Cadet Col. Benjamin C. Jakeman of the Colorado Wing as Cadet of the Year and Col. Steven W. Kuddes of the Nebraska Wing as Senior Member of the Year. Several CAP units will also be honored, including the California Wing’s Fresno Composite Squadron 112, selected as the 2014 Squadron of Distinction.
In addition, Aug. 29 will feature Cadet Day activities for CAP’s younger members, highlighted by a visit to the Orlando Support Center and “JetBlue University” facility of the activity’s sponsor, JetBlue. Participating cadets will get hands-on experience in flight simulators and will also hear speakers from JetBlue, including commercial pilots, airline personnel, mechanics and engineers.
In addition, some 60 learning labs are planned for Aug. 28-29. The seminars, led by CAP National Headquarters staff and other experts, will focus on topics such as finance, communications, safety, logistics, aircraft operations, professional development and leadership, fundraising, recruiting and retention, the chaplaincy, government relations, CAP history, information technology cadet programs, aerospace education and public affairs.
Nine preconference workshops will be offered Aug. 24-27. Those sessions include a Cessna G1000 Ground School; a class on Geospatial Information Interoperability Exploitation Portable go-kits, which feature self-contained communications equipment and other hardware that allows for real time or near-real time full-motion video; examinations of fundraising and government relations; and two-day sessions aimed at public information officers, public affairs officers, inspectors general and leaders of cadets.