Calhoun is home to an aerospace education center, and is looking for young people to send into the air. The Civil Air Patrol, located on the premises of the Tom B. David Airport will continue to breed the next generation’s cadets.
Prior to this year, Calhoun had an active unit but when the economy hit rock bottom, those who trained the cadets had to leave and pursue full-time employment, which made things fall apart.
Luckily for those interested in aerospace, the wing commander for the State of Georgia doesn’t want the Calhoun squadron to close, so the state provided money for activities, flights, aerospace education, moral leadership and general cadet studies, according to newly elected Calhoun Squadron Commander Hayden Collins.
“It was funded by the Georgia Wing,” explained Collins. “It is part of the budget for the Civil Air Patrol for the State of Georgia.”
He is looking to train and educate local youth ages 12 to 21 in areas that more than likely they could not have in a regular classroom.
“The intent of restarting this squadron is to educate kids; the educational benefits are huge,” said Collins. “These kids are going to be trained, learn about cadet standards, aerospace education and how to fly gliders and planes; we provide an educational standard that’s accepted throughout colleges and universities.”
Currently, the Calhoun squadron consists of Collins, and two other cadets.
“We would like to take the funds that they’ve given us and not only restart that squadron, but impress upon the community that these are the same guys that respond to tornadoes, search and rescue operations and put planes in the air for damages areas to help with emergency services,” said Collins. “I need as much local support as I can get.”
If a cadet completes the entire program, then the cadet’s ticket is automatically punched for the Air Force.
“It’s not an easy task; when we say this is a highly specialized educational program there is a test at each level; there is physical test and a physical fitness test every month, and you better be in shape.” explained Collins. “There are national cadet standards used; you will be registered with the United States Air Force.”
While cadets who complete the program are registered with the Air Force, they are not required to serve in the Air Force, according to Collins.
Those interested should know that there will be some investment on the part of the individual or family member supporting the cadet, but that the educational opportunity is an experience they won’t get anywhere else, said Collins.
“You’re going to receive aerospace education that you’re not going to get in high school or college unless you specialize in that field,” said Collins. “We will provide them with activities they will want to do.”
The cadets will meet each Saturday from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m.
For more information, contact Collins at 770.560.1035.