By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – The Lt. Col. Frank Pocher Minute Man Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) recently held an open house at the Marlborough Airport, introducing youths ages 12 to 18 to an exciting way to learn to lead, fly and have fun.
Squadron Commander Maj. Sharon Ingraham gave an overview of the program, which includes three missions – emergency services, the cadet program and aerospace education. She explained that the volunteer civilian units help with humanitarian rescue missions, search and rescue, and disaster relief.
2nd Lt. Sean Donovan, a cadet commander, outlined the program emphasizing that cadets fly, hike, camp, get in shape and push themselves to new limits. To become a cadet, an applicant must be at least 12 years old and not yet 19 years old, he told the group.? Maj. Shelley Rosenbaum Lipman discussed aerospace education and Capt. Ted Johnson led the simulation of “flying” around an airport environment while talking on the radio to air traffic control
Among the many Marlborough teenagers who belong to CAP are three from the 1LT Charles W. Whitcomb Middle School – eighth-grader Mike Bucchino and two seventh-graders – Jabrail Clark and Gino DiMatteo.
“I started in CAP when I was 12 because CAP seemed like the?way?I could become a pilot,” Mike said. “Once I joined it was instantly thrilling.? CAP holds orientation flights in its aircraft every few months, which I always enjoy.”
“The whole reason I joined was to learn how to fly and CAP is doing just that.? I hope to learn how to fly gliders this summer,” he added.
Jabrail joined CAP last September and said it has been “the experience of a lifetime.”
“The reason I joined CAP is that I am interested in aviation and plan on joining the Air Force so this was the perfect opportunity.?One experience that was breath-taking was about a week ago we had a Massachusetts wing conference in which all CAP members from the state came together. We went to different fun seminars?throughout?the day and at the end we had a banquet,” he said.
“I joined CAP because I was interested in learning about the Air Force,” Gino said. “I discovered that CAP is involved in many types of services. Some are volunteer services and aerospace. Some of the fun experiences I?have had so far are taking the controls of an airplane in flight, using a flight simulator,?helping at the festival of trees, and attending the?state-wide CAP conference in Hyannis.”
Many adults also find the CAP just as rewarding as young cadets.? Pauline Smith, of Hudson and formerly of Marlborough, was recruited by her grandson, Cadet Ken Palardy, in September 2011.
“I take pride in being a member of The Civil Air Patrol.? It's a longtime?dream come true,” said Smith, who is now a second lieutenant, public affairs officer and recruiting/retention officer. “I wanted to join the CAP when?I was a teen, but never did.? It simply proves that dreams can come true at any age.”
“The opportunities I’ve come to experience as a CAP member have been exciting, adventurous and indescribable – volunteering in?our community and surrounding towns, participating in CAP missions, while watching the cadets?grow as responsible citizens,?has inspired me to keep on,” she said.?”Working and helping mentor these young?cadets has restored my hope for the future and the safety of our country.”
To learn more about CAP, contact Ingraham at [email protected], 978-290-9323, or Rosenbaum at [email protected], 978-663-7697. Weekly meetings are held 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Marlborough Fire Department, 215 Maple Street. Route 85.