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173rd FW builds stronger relationship with Civil Air Patrol

CAP

The Klamath Falls Composite Squadron, a local chapter of the Civil Air Patrol, tours the weapons facility at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon, during a base outreach organized to foster a stronger relationship between the Air Force Auxiliary and the 173rd Fighter Wing, Sept. 10, 2019. Part of the wing strategic vision is to enhance the relationship with this affiliated group as well as the Junior ROTC program at nearby Henley High School. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jefferson Thompson)

KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. --

Two Airman from the 173rd Fighter Wing are working to foster a closer relationship between the wing and the Air Force Auxiliary, better known as the Civil Air Patrol.

“Part of the Wing Strategic Plan is to build enduring relationships with the community,” said 2nd Lt. Brandon McGraw, a 173rd FW maintenance officer. “What motivated me to build this relationship was the opportunity to mentor our youth and future, potential Airmen. Also, I felt that building relationships within the community-especially the CAP is important to Kingsley’s future.”

McGraw and Tech. Sgt. Chris Hernandez, an aircrew flight equipment member, organized an event to bring Civil Air Patrol Cadets out to witness night flying takeoffs from the active airfield.

“When this came along, I wanted to do it right away,” said Hernandez. “I think the younger we can show kids the great opportunity the military has to offer, the better chance they have of serving.”

Civil Air Patrol has a broad mission spanning search and rescue, disaster relief, community welfare, aviation, leadership development, and Science promotion, Technology and Math (STEM) education, according to the national website.

This is similar to the Air National Guard where the stated mission is homeland defense, support to the community and Nation in times of need.

With missions that coincide, it makes sense that the strategic plan calls for the integration of both Civil Air Patrol and Junior ROTC detachments into the Kingsley Field community.

“We appreciate the interest the 173rd has taken in our unit and in developing a closer working relationship,” said Cliff Warrick, the commander of the CAP Klamath Falls Composite Squadron. “We look for opportunities to have our cadets visit various activities that the 173rd is holding. This helps expose our cadets to different career fields that might be available to them should they decide to pursue a military career.”

With that in mind both McGraw and Hernandez plan to organize a series of events like this one to continue to foster a closer partnership.

Although not widely known the local composite squadron has an aircraft, and they flew along with a C-130 cargo exercise in preparation for a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake.

“We believe we should continue to look for these types of joint operational opportunities where CAP’s airlift, aerial photography, and long-range and short range communications capabilities can help the 173rd and the Oregon Air National Guard in general,” said Warrick of future possibilities for collaboration.

With that in mind a natural disaster might require close partnership very quickly, but in the meantime the 173rd FW will continue to bring these local cadets out to the base for greater to the mission and culture at Kingsley Field.