Civil Air Patrol
  • Aircrew returing to base

Maryland Wing’s newest squadron serves homeschooled cadets

March 20, 2020 — GRANITE, Md. – Civil Air Patrol’s newest squadron in Maryland is a unique unit that meets during the weekday and its 19 charter members are part of the Baltimore-area homeschooling community.  Granite Cadet Squadron was officially chartered on February 27, 2020, although the members have been formally meeting since mid-September.

The unit began as an idea posed by Lt. Col. Brenda Reed, the new squadron’s commander, to visitors during a spring 2019 field trip of homeschoolers to the Maryland Wing headquarters in Granite, Md.  Reed, a former homeschooling parent of three children, understands the unique needs of home education and the opportunities the lifestyle presents to families.  She suggested the concept of a homeschooling squadron to several mothers attending the field trip with their children.

“Civil Air Patrol offers homeschoolers many valuable leadership opportunities and life skills that can be difficult to achieve at home,” explains Reed, who had two of her children join CAP as cadets.  “Public speaking, group dynamics, leadership, along with our aviation opportunities make CAP a perfect addition to any family’s homeschool curriculum.  Not all families can participate in Civil Air Patrol during regular evening meetings, so this new unit with its daytime meetings, is an option for those interested in making CAP a part of their lives.”

With five initial families starting the squadron, Reed enlisted the help of Lt. Col. Jim Williams, Maryland Wing’s external aerospace education officer and homeschooling father of five, to teach aerospace classes in the early months until an aerospace education officer for the unit could be found and trained.  Williams, an enthusiastic aviator and educator, was part of the initial field trip last spring and jumped at the opportunity to work with the new cadets. 

As Reed taught the remaining classes to the new cadets, she sought assistance from cadet officers in Maryland who are homeschooled or have flexible daytime schedules.  “Our cadets – all brand new to CAP – needed to work with some experience CAP cadets who provided role models of successful cadet leadership,” state Reed.  “The cadets assisting are from other squadrons and support the unit as an additional duty from their other CAP assignments, providing them with added learning opportunities for their own leadership growth.”  

Cadet 1st Lt. Jacob Stigdon, a homeschooled cadet with the Frederick Composite Squadron, and Cadet Lt. Col. Laura Midkiff, a college sophomore from the Carroll Composite Squadron, attend the weekly meetings, teaching classes and mentoring the cadets to improve.

Maj. Patrick Aaron, cadet orientation pilot, has been providing the cadets with flying opportunities in Civil Air Patrol’s Cessna aircraft.  All cadets receive five powered flights as an orientation to flying as part of the cadet program.

The cadets are progressing well in the cadet program.  They all began at the same introductory level and have formed a cohesive group, supporting one another to excel.  Many are planning to attend the summer Tri-Wing Encampment, a basic training for CAP cadets hosted by Maryland Wing.

“I know how much my own children benefited from the cadet program and I am thrilled to be able to watch these new cadets grow as leaders and achieve their dreams,” says Reed.

Granite Cadet Squadron meets at Maryland Wing Headquarters in Granite, Md., on Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Prospective cadets and their families are welcome to stop by the squadron.  Visit the squadron’s website  for more information or email for specific questions.

More than 1,500 members serve in Civil Air Patrol’s Maryland Wing. Last year, wing members flew 13 actual search and rescue missions. Overall, the Maryland Wing flew 32 missions for the State of Maryland, flying 2,245 hours in all mission categories, and was credited with four finds. Volunteers contributed services estimated at $4.6 million. For information, contact the Maryland Wing at or follow the wing on Facebook.

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, 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 82 lives annually. CAP’s 61,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. In addition, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to over 25,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit or for information.


Lt. Col. Brenda A. Reed, CAP
Commander, Granite Cadet Squadron

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