In all, 150 CAP cadets and 51 senior members will pitch in during the event, which annually draws more than 550,000 people and over 20,000 aircraft to Wittman Field, making it the busiest airport in the world for at least one week each summer.
The air show starts July 22, but CAP members descended on the area July 15, a week earlier, and will remain through July 29, a day after the show concludes.
They are participating in National Blue Beret, a CAP National Cadet Special Activity (NCSA). To qualify, cadets are required to complete nine courses, including several offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The first week is devoted to preparation and obtaining the qualifications required to serve on an intensive, high-tempo mission base.
According to CAP officials, National Blue Beret is one of five search and rescue mission bases activated across Wisconsin by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, each staffed by CAP members during AirVenture Oshkosh.
CAP cadets and senior members support the event by marshalling aircraft on the flight line, tracking and finding overdue aircraft, and interacting with the public. The cadets also often support the CAP National Recruiting booth, staffed by Wisconsin Wing members.
But it won’t be all work for the CAP cadets. At AirVenture, they get the chance to meet with any of the more than 900 exhibitors, as well as attend EAA workshops to learn such aircraft manufacturing skills as woodworking, welding, engine repair, electronics and fabric covering.
Opportunities are also available to meet legendary aviators, celebrities and aviation professionals. The education and career pavilion offers cadets transitioning into careers and college the opportunity to meet with representatives from more than 30 colleges, universities and service academies. In addition, many major aviation industry recruiters are looking for the next aviation professionals.
Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90% of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 80 lives annually.
CAP’s 64,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies.
In addition, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to more than 26,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs.