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The Sky's the Limit

Cornerstone ninth-grade student Jonathan Baines has been in Civil Air Patrol for almost two years and was recently awarded the Cobb County Composite Squadron Phase 2 Cadet of the Year! Today, he shares what this program and accomplishment mean to him.

Jonathan and his family first learned about CAP through a conversation with a retired Air Force officer while touring the Aviation History & Technology Center in Marietta.  

Through their experiences as CAP cadets, young people develop into responsible citizens and become tomorrow's aerospace leaders. CAP was formed during the earliest days of the second World War as an auxiliary of the US Air Force. Less than a year after the program’s initial formation, the cadet program was established.          

The program aims to improve the leadership skills and character of students as well as educate them in the fields of aerospace and search and rescue. The core values of the program include integrity, volunteer service, excellence, and respect. “The program has helped me grow in leadership skills, has shown me how to have greater respect and honor to those around me and finally I really enjoy serving my community through Civil Air Patrol,” added Jonathan.      

Fun Fact: Jonathan piloted a plane before he drove a car!

According to an article titled “A Proud History of Volunteer Service,” “Today CAP has grown into a national support organization with more than 60,000 members in all 50 states. CAP currently operates the largest private fleet of Cessna aircraft in the world and maintains an advanced, nationwide radio communications system.” 

In early March, Jonathan was invited to travel to Washington D.C. with a delegation from the Georgia wing of the Civil Air Patrol. In DC, they spent the whole day on Capitol Hill and met with congressmen and senators as a part of National Legislative Day.

Every cadet knows about the common awards they naturally earn as they climb the ranks. But for cadets who achieve above and beyond basic expectations, special awards are available. In December, Jonathan was awarded Cadet of the Year for Phase 2 of the Cadet program within the Cobb County Composite Squadron!

Each year, cadets can attend encampments where they have opportunities to follow their own interests and explore potential careers for a full week. The instructors are all volunteers, some of whom travel quite far to participate. “This summer, I am very excited to serve as Encampment Cadet 1st Sergeant at the statewide week-long event,” said Jonathan. 

While there is no obligation to join the military, 8% of USAF Academy Cadets are former CAP Cadets. By learning the core values of integrity, service, excellence, and respect, Civil Air Patrol Cadets will become the strong and effective leaders we will need in the future. When asked if Jonathan would like to pursue a career in aviation, he responded, “Right now I would like to pursue a career in the aerospace industry, which could involve the air force in the future.” 

Today, CAP not only searches for downed planes, but also assists in towns and communities.  The Civil Air Patrol helps with the Great American Balloon Race, the Great American BBQ Festival, and much more! When you see Civil Air Patrol Members in your school or community be sure to say, “Thanks for your service!”  

If you are interested in learning more about this program for ages 12-19, check out the Civil Air Patrol’s website at


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