Civil Air Patrol
  • Aircrew returing to base

University of Maryland AFROTC cadets fly with Maryland Wing

November 30, 2019 — FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. –  In service of Civil Air Patrol’s aerospace education mission to shape experiences and aspirations of youth outside its cadet program, members of Apollo 1 Senior Squadron, St. Mary’s Composite Squadron, and Harford Composite Squadron conducted the first iteration of cadet orientation flights for nine Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) cadets from the University of Maryland on November 30, 2019.

The cadet orientation flight program affords AFROTC cadets the opportunity to experience flight from the front seat of a CAP aircraft. In addition to experiencing flight, the cadets received multiple briefings to include a brief history of CAP, an overview of recent missions and a list of the organization’s accomplishments. The cadets also received brief instructions on airports, charts, weather and aeronautical decision making with an emphasis on safety.

The day was busy for both the cadets and CAP staff. Prior to the cadets’ arrival, the CAP staff conducted weather checks and final flight coordination. Once the cadets arrived at the airport, they were introduced to the support staff and pilots; and received briefings on CAP history, the mission for the day, and supporting safety briefings. Following the briefings the cadets and pilots conducted pre-flight inspections and receive a second safety briefing prior to taking to the skies.

The CAP pilots supporting the flying event were Maj. Bob Nelson, Maj. David Bowidowicz, and Capt. Brent Hippart. Supervisor of flying, communications, and base support for the event was coordinated by Maj. Derek Rustvold, commander of the Apollo 1 Senior Squadron.

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force, which consists of regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees. CAP, in its Total Force role, operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 78 lives annually. Civil Air Patrol’s 56,000 members nationwide also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Its members additionally play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program. Performing missions for America for the past 75 years, CAP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit for more information.

Over 1,500 CAP members serve in Maryland. Last year Maryland Wing members flew 13 search and rescue missions and were credited with four finds. Members flew an additional 32 patrol missions for Maryland totaling 2,245 flight hours in all mission categories. Volunteers contributed services estimated at $4.6 million. For more information, contact the Maryland Wing at or follow the wing on Facebook.


Photo:  Maj. Bob Nelson conducts orientation flights with two University of Maryland AFROTC cadets.

Maj. Derek Rustvold, CAP
Commander, Apollo 1 Senior Squadron

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