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"Zoomers" - Civil Air Patrol Cadet Aviators

"Zoomers" - Civil Air Patrol Cadet Aviators

Author Chief Master Sargeant William T. Hale, Jr., CAP
 

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting challenges to the US and world economies, we are looking to the young people of America to become the future leaders of our country.  The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is one of many organizations developing the leaders of tomorrow from the group of young people known as Generation Z, or “Zoomers,” born between 1995 and 2015.  Members of the “Zoomer” generation, Cadet Captains Kyle Alamshaw and Justin Hale are cadet leaders being mentored by the senior leaders of the Las Vegas Composite Squadron (NV-070) in Las Vegas, Nevada.   Punctuating their future potential as leaders of our nation, both cadets recently completed training for their Private Pilot’s License (PPL), taking different paths to the same goal.

A CAP cadet since 2017, Cadet Alamshaw excelled in training and rapidly progressed through his cadet promotions.  A recipient of the Amelia Earhart Award recognizing academic and leadership achievement it is one of the many awards and recognition he has received.  In 2018, Cadet Alamshaw attended the CAP National Cadet Special Activity, Cadet Aviation Ground School, at McGhee-Tyson Air Reserve Base, Tennessee.  As one of 24 CAP cadets selected nationwide, he graduated from the Civic Leadership Academy held in Washington D.C. in February 2020.  C/Capt Alamshaw and the other 23 selectees represented all CAP cadets to members of the U.S. Congress and the Pentagon.  Recounting his experience in Washington D.C., Cadet Alamshaw commented, “I encourage EVERYONE in the Nevada Wing who is eligible, to apply for next year’s Civic Leadership Academy. This is a once in a lifetime experience not every teenager/adult gets to do.”

In addition to CAP, Cadet Alamshaw is a C/Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) at Palo Verde High School in Las Vegas.  In 2019, he was appointed as the AFJROTC Cadet Wing Commander.  He received a United States Air Force (USAF) scholarship to attend the Air Force Junior ROTC Flight Academy at California Baptist University in Riverside, California.  Demonstrating commitment and dedication, he traveled between Las Vegas and Riverside and flew over 70 hours in a 2018 Piper Archer aircraft achieving his PPL in 2019.  Cadet Alamshaw offered advice to others seeking their goals, “…work hard and don’t give up. There were times I got frustrated…you’re going to make mistakes and that’s how you learn. Use those mistakes as motivational tools…to do better. Keep pushing yourself and eventually, it will all work out, like it did for me.  Another thing is to study as much as you can in your free time. It will all pay off in the end.”

Cadet Alamshaw is scheduled to graduate Palo Verde High School in 2020 and is an inductee into the National Honor Society.  He has completed over 100 volunteer missionary hours with the Cornerstone Christian Academy in Las Vegas.  His future educational plan is to attend one of the military service academies or an ROTC program and become a military pilot.  Cadet Alamshaw’s colleague C/Captain Hale took an alternative path to his PPL.

Cadet Hale recalls, “My grandfather, who had served in the United States Air Force, also helped to peak my interest in the military by telling me stories about his time in the service as well as taking me to Nellis Air Force Base.  Aviation Nation lead to my involvement in the Civil Air Patrol.”  While attending Jim Bridger Middle School in Las Vegas, Cadet Hale started his CAP journey in 2012 at the age of twelve and continues to serve as his squadron’s Cadet Emergency Services Officer. 

With the goal of attaining his PPL, Cadet Hale was accepted into Rancho High School’s Academy of Aviation Magnet Program in Las Vegas.  While in the program, he served on Rancho’s 2019 Real World Design Challenge engineering team which placed second at the world competition in Washington, D.C. The team created an unmanned aerial surveillance drone used to autonomously monitor urban greenspaces.

Following his aviation ground skills training at Rancho, he was ready to begin his formal flight training.  For many cadets, one of the obstacles to obtaining a PPL is money. Pilot training is expensive, typically approaching $20,000.  With the assistance of his aviation teacher at Rancho, Mr. Gary Archambault, Cadet Hale received scholarships from Rancho High School and the Daedalian Foundation, with the remaining expenses covered by his parents and grandparents.  He accomplished over 65 hours of fixed-wing training in a Cessna 172 at 702 Helicopters, at the North Las Vegas Airport and received his PPL in 2019.   Cadet Hale provided his thoughts on pilot training, “The best advice I can give…is to stay on top of it. Prioritize all your responsibilities and place flight training at the top. Communicate with your instructors and ensure you are getting up in the air regularly.  Money may also be an issue, but it is more available than you think. Talk with everyone you know…if you present yourself the right way, doors will open for you.”

Since joining CAP, Cadet Hale has successfully achieved numerous awards, recognition and promotions.  In 2018, he was selected as the Cadet Officer of the Year for the Nevada Wing.  In 2019, he was appointed as the Cadet Commander for the Las Vegas Composite Squadron and he also received the Amelia Earhart Award.  In 2020, he achieved his Mission Scanner rating. 

Cadet Hale received a full academic scholarship to the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics.  His graduate degree interests are in Aerospace Engineering, Computer Science, and Applied Mathematics.   Due to the COVID-19 pandemic employment restrictions, he eagerly awaits his return to the Nevada Blind Center as an accounting clerk.

Cadets Alamshaw and Hale represent the best of the Generation Z “Zoomer” cohort of young adults.   Through CAP and other organizations, their on-going development of leadership skills prepares them to serve our nation today and in the challenging times yet to come.  I am confident these cadets and those following them are up to the global challenges they will encounter.  We are counting on you.

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