Deer Valley Composite Squadron C/2nd Lt Kaelyn Marble is one of 108 cadets from across the country chosen to attend Civil Air Patrol’s Cadet Officer School in early July at Maxwell Air Force Base. The 2018 Cadet Officer School, or COS, will be extra special, as it marks the 50th year CAP’s “very best” cadets have gathered and participated in the college-level leadership course.
Marble is currently the Deputy Commander of the Deer Valley cadets. She has been in CAP for just over four years and says, “Joining Civil Air Patrol has opened up my mind to other careers besides the military and more leadership opportunities. I joined CAP for a few reasons. I had friends at the time who were cadets in a different program, so I was interested in the types of events they were participating in and the things they were learning.”
Marble has set several goals for herself. First, “I want to see my former and current cadets become true leaders.” Second, she wants to reach the grade of Cadet Captain by the end of her junior year. “My overall goal is to become a better person every day,” Marble said. “Being involved in a program like CAP has helped me learn to lead and achieve my goals, all while just enjoying the program and trying out all opportunities it has to offer.”
“This is a premier leadership opportunity that is afforded to our very best cadets,” said Col. Joe Winter, CAP, activity director for the 2018 COS. “Only the top 15 percent of CAP’s cadets are accepted to attend.”
This year, 108 cadets from 35 wings are participating in what is now a 10-day course. In addition to Cadet Marble, Arizona Wing is represented by C/Maj. Abigail Brown from Mohave Valley Composite Squadron and C/1st Lt. Madalyn Fredman from Willie Composite Squadron.
During the course, cadets hear from senior Air Force officers, as well as National Commander Maj. Gen. Mark Smith and other Civil Air Patrol leaders.
“This whole experience is a rare opportunity for our cadets,” said Winter. “It’s not every day they get to meet and mingle with senior leaders who make up the Total Force of our Air Force.”
Learning to lead is always the primary focus of COS, which is patterned after Air Force Squadron Officer School.
The cadets participate in a variety of lectures and supporting discussions to explore leadership topics. They practice what they learn through a series of comprehensive writing and speaking assignments, culminating with graduation and the anniversary-themed banquet.
“At Cadet Officer School, I have made it a goal for myself to become a person who can create a vision to make the squadron better and be able to encourage other cadets to agree and make it happen,” Marble said. “Through this 10-day experience, I want to learn how to become a better leader, which is what CAP strives to teach cadets.”
–C/SMSgt Samantha Armstrong contributed to this article.