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Minuteman attends VAWG encampment 2016

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During the past week, three cadets and one senior member from Minuteman journeyed down to Fort Pickett in Farmville, VA to attend one of Virginia Wing’s most anticipated (and infamous) events: VAWG Encampment.  Encampment is a wing-wide program for both seniors and cadets alike to meet other members, push their limits, and depend on one another as they go through the challenges of the week.

Cadets Ethan Cole, Conall Slocumb, Nicholas Landon, and Senior Member Adrian Joye experienced very different sides of encampment, even though they were all on the base together for its eight-day duration. For Cadet Cole, this was his first wing wide event in his four month Civil Air Patrol career. Through obstacle courses, PT, and rappelling towers, Cadet Cole was able to meet cadets from other units across the state. Although Cole was injured due to a back injury mid-way through the week, the excellent cadets and senior members from the medical team were able to get him back on his feet in order to participate in the truck and gun simulators as well as the orientation flights and a cockpit tour in a C-17 plane.  Cole had a very special orientation flight, with the National Commander Major General Vasquez himself piloting the plane he rode in!

For Senior Airman Slocumb, Encampment 2016 was his second encampment, but this time he was able to be a part of the advanced flight, which held him to a higher standard than most of the other cadets. Slocumb found the leadership course particularly engaging, saying that “it was really difficult trying to get over the water to get to the other side, but we still did really well.” His flight, Kilo, was awarded honor flight of the day twice during the course of encampment, which he was quite pleased with. Slocumb enjoyed this year’s encampment, and is ready to attend Encampment 2017, though he is undecided whether he is ready to take on the role of managing cadets as staff next year.

Encampment, with its over 300 cadets, was once again a success and showed us how successful a cadet-led program can be. From the management of the cadets’ activities, health, and dining, cadets were in charge of every facet of the cadet experience at encampment. As Lieutenant Adrian Joye said, “It was great being able to facilitate and oversee the delegation of cadet activities, as they led their respective programs with dignity.” Within his group at dining services, he said his cadets were able to quickly provide food to all the cadets at the squadron. Cadet Cole seemed to agree, as it was one of the highlights of his day. Here’s to another great Encampment!

-Aaron Corbett, Minuteman PAO