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Civil Air Patrol Cadet Learn to Find Their Way

posted Oct 18, 2020, 11:13 AM by William Petzinger

ALLENTOWN, N.J. (Oct. 3, 2020) -- Bright rays of sun shined on six cadets from the Maj Thomas B. McGuire Composite Squadron Saturday while practicing land navigation. Under the supervision of senior members Maj Todd Hamilton and 2d Lt Steven King, cadets walked the grounds at Byron Johnson Park with maps and compasses in hand. The squadron plans to establish a qualified emergency services team to participate in search and rescue missions.

Land navigation requires cadets to maneuver across an area without using a GPS for direction. They rely solely on maps and compasses to carry them from one point to another.

“If you’re looking for someone in an unfamiliar area, you can use a compass and map to determine where you are and how to get to where you need to be,” said Maj Hamilton, a recruiter for the U.S. Army.

Cadets split into two groups to accomplish their objectives. They took a pace count, which required them to take a hundred steps by counting the times their left foot hit the ground. This helped them keep track of the land they covered.

“After taking pace counts, cadets used their protractors and compasses to plot their coordinates on maps. They marked their current location and found the points of the direction they wanted to travel,” said Lt King, an engineer with the U.S. Marine Corp.

Cadets received online instruction on the basic steps of land navigation and practiced using a map and compass. At the park, Lt King explained the eight different types of terrain, which are hills, ridges, valleys, saddles, depressions, draws, spurs and cliffs. He also showed cadets how to recognize different features on maps and navigate through them.

 “It’s important to be familiar with terrain features because you might be on a hill; there might be ditches or rivers, and you have to know how to get across them to find someone who’s lost or injured,” said Lt King.

Participants in the Land Navigation Exercise are C/SSgt. William Mares, Barnegat; C/A1C Jesse Dy-Tioco, Barnegat; C/MSgt McKenzie Keedy, Dorothy; C/A1C Nicholas Keedy, Dorothy; and C/Amn Alexander Kuyrnow, Trenton.

Civil Air Patrol is the longtime auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and as such is a valued member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 single-engine aircraft and 1,550 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS). It performs about 90% 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 66,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Operating as a nonprofit organization, CAP also plays a leading role in STEM/aerospace education, and its members serve as mentors to 28,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit www.CAP.News or www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com for more information.

There are approximately 1,350 members of Civil Air Patrol in New Jersey. For more information about membership in the McGuire Composite Squadron please contact Maj Bill Petzinger at (609) 306-0966.