Civil Air Patrol’s Leesville Composite Squadron launched its rocketry program

Published 6:45 am Tuesday, August 11, 2020

On Saturday, July 25th, the Leesville Composite Squadron of Civil Air Patrol (CAP) launched a number of model rockets, the first series of many to come.  The launchings occurred at a private field behind Pine Hill Baptist Church and were supervised by Major Douglas Plummer, Lt. Col. Ron Kariker, 2nd Lt. Rebecca Evans and 2nd Lt. Bill Pardue.

Rocket Launch, Major Plummer.

This was the squadron’s first in-person gathering since the introduction of virus restrictions that have forced the squadron to hold its meetings online.  Observing mandated distancing and masking practices, the squadron’s cadets completed several individual, hands-on activities that complemented online classes they have been taking over the past few months.

Major Doug Plummer, the squadron’s commander, was smiling under his mask as he welcomed the unit’s members to this outdoor event.  He said, “I’m very glad that our cadets can enjoy themselves in this stimulating but carefully monitored activity.”

Water Rocket (2L Coke Bottle) Launch, 2nd Lt Bill Pardue, C/TSgt Emileigh Howard, Cadet Ruby Gross, C/Airman Jordan Jenkins, Maj. Douglas Plummer, C/A1C Sam Welch and Cadet Cyrus Sigler.

The Leesville cadets assembled six of thirteen model rockets that were gifted to the unit by the United States Air Force as part of the STEM Program.  The squadron plans to found a Section of the National Association of Rocketry for local interested rocketeers, since such a club does not exist in the area. 

Rocket Build, Major Plummer and 2nd Lt Rebecca Evans supervising C/TSgt Jimmie Evans IV and C/A1C Sam Welch.

At the launch, the cadets met two requirements for earning the CAP Model Rocketry Badge.  This badge is an individual award earned initially by listening to classroom lectures on the history and biographies of rocketry pioneers and on scientific laws with mathematical theories of rocket flight and space travel.  Also, cadets must take three knowledge tests, scoring at least 80, before being awarded the badge.

Rocket Build, C/Airman Jordan Jenkins, Cadet Ruby Gross.

In addition, all of the day’s activities contributed towards the squadron earning a Cadet Quality Unit Ward.  This award is earned by meeting a certain number of performance goals as a unit.    

Senior members attending the launch were Squadron Commander Maj. Doug Plummer, Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Ron Kariker, Second Lieutenant Rebecca Evans, and Second Lieutenant Bill Perdue.  Cadets attending were Cadet Staff Sergeants Emileigh Howard and Jimmie Evans IV, Cadet Airman 1st Class Sam Welch, Cadet Airman Jordan Jenkins, and Cadets Ruby Gross and Cyrus Sigler.

Rocket Build, C/TSgt. Emileigh Howard

About Civil Air Patrol’s Leesville Composite Squadron

The Leesville Composite Squadron welcomes all youth 12 to 18 years of age and adults of all ages.  Virtual meetings are held Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:30 PM; and in-person meetings, tentatively set to begin August 11, are held at Pine Hill Baptist Church.  For information call Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Ron Kariker at 337-286-5212.

The 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 for more information. 

This article originally appeared on Leesville Daily Leader: Civil Air Patrol’s Leesville Composite Squadron launched its rocketry program