EASTOVER — More than 75 cadets from the Civil Air Patrol got a chance to get up close and personal with a CH-47 Chinook helicopter on June 27 during their Summer Encampment at the National Guard’s McCrady Training Center.
And to make their orientation session complete, pilots from the S.C. National Guard flew the cadets around the Eastover area so they could experience what it is like to ride in the helicopter first hand. The flights provided the cadets a unique opportunity to learn more about Army aviation and rotary wing aircraft capabilities.
“That was awesome,” was the unanimous response from the cadets of the South Carolina Wing of the Civil Air Patrol as they walked off the Chinook’s ramp. The cadets enjoyed a 20-minute orientation flight over the training areas of Fort Jackson and McCrady and got to interact with SC National Guard pilots and crew-chiefs.
As it turns out, the Chinook pilots were former CAP members themselves. Maj. Brian Lake said he was a member for two years and Chief Warrant Officer Robbie Herlong said he was in the CAP for eight years. Both were excited to be able to fly the young cadets over Eastover.
“The most exciting part was when we flew upwards and then did a few turns above the trees,” said Sarah Sill, cadet commander.
Sill has been a CAP member for more than six years and she currently attends the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“All cadets were having a blast during the flight. And they talked excitedly about it afterwards,” said David Eudy, 1st Squadron commander who has been in the CAP for more than four years. “This encampment has been a great experience. We are learning how to be leaders and how every person makes a difference in the tasks at hand. It is important that everyone works together. As a team, we all got to enjoy an awesome flight.”
“I was happy we were able to support such a great organization that helps guide the young adults of today,” said Herlong.
“I’m hoping there will be some future aviators in this group. The cadets all seemed excited to be here and they enjoyed their flights,” said Lake.