“I was a very shy, introverted kid.”
Not so, anymore.
Faith Amaya was promoted to Cadet Second Lieutenant, one of six cadets to receive their promotions with the Dungeness Composite Squadron on May 17 at Sequim Middle School.
Founded in 1941, Civil Air Patrol is a public service organization that was formed “to mobilize the nation’s civilian aviation resources for national defense service” and still carries out emergency service missions when needed, members note. An auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is “there to search for and find the lost, provide comfort in times of disaster and work to keep the homeland safe,” organization members say.
Open to cadets (ages 12-18) and adults (18+), Sequim’s Dungeness Composite Squadron meets weekly, practicing drill and ceremonies, learning about topics such as leadership, aerospace, emergency services, and character development, and once a month host a physical training meeting, where members can take a Cadet Physical Fitness test or promote an active lifestyle through games and sports.
Though “Air” is in the organization’s title, less than a fifth of all CAP members are pilots or aircrew members; others are lawyers, paralegals, accountants, computer programmers, and other business professionals and executives. They often are mentors and guides for the more than 23,000 cadets across the nation.
“There are no barriers with anyone who wants to participate in the community,” senior member Danielle Patterson said. “[And) we’re pretty much self-funded.”
The squadron also participates in activities outside weekly meetings, from orientation flights in Civil Air Patrol aircraft at a local airfield to search-and-rescue exercises and tours of flight museums.
In mid-May, with State Rep. Mike Chapman on hand, a new cohort of Dungeness Composite Squadron cadets were promoted to Airman: Paige Biss, Hannah Colwill, Trenton Downs, Alex Creery and Jackson Girard, while Chief Master Sergeant Kade Kirsch received a ribbon for Achievement 8.
Reilly Sue, formerly a Senior Airman, was promoted to Cadet Staff Sergeant.
Amaya said she had to reach a number of benchmarks for the leadership position, including a physical fitness test, written exam and participation in several local and regional events.
Her responsibility within the group grows with the promotion, something Amaya said looking forward to in coming weeks.
Deputy Commander of Cadets Capt. Nick Sue awarded the promotions, and noted the significance of Amaya’s promotion within the squadron.
“It’s a huge step,” Sue said.
Asked why she joined Civil Air Patrol, Amaya said, “I was on the spectrum; [here] I gained the social skills I was looking for.”
The Dungeness squadron saw its numbers dwindle to just a handful of members months ago but now has more than 20 active members, Patterson said.
For more about Dungeness Composite Squadron, visit wa091.cap.gov or facebook.com/DungenessCAP.