Civil Air Patrol cadets keeping on with business


Cadet members of the Ace Basin Composite Squadron are continuing to live up to the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Oath which they memorize and agree to at membership. The oath affirms that “[I will] advance my education and training rapidly to prepare myself to be of service to my community, state, and nation,” and is being re-affirmed by cadets in the ACE Basin Unit.

Since Civil Air Patrol is part of the United States Air Force Total Force, the National Commander Maj. Gen. Mark Smith issued a directive on March 15 ordering a stand-down for the weekly meetings and in-person training that are so vital to Civil Air Patrol’s Cadet Program mission. In the days to follow, senior members nationwide began developing methods by which cadets and senior members in their unit could continue to progress in their training.

In the days since the initial stand-down became official, members of ACE Basin Composite Squadron have achieved the following promotions:

 Cadet Melinda Kaye Mercer achieved the rank of Cadet Airman.

 Cadet Airman First Class Bethany Tharp achieved the rank of Cadet Senior Airman.

If there were to be an in-person promotion night this week as previously scheduled, those two cadets plus three senior members would be promoted, including:

 Senior member David Sheaf to first lieutenant

 Senior member Kirsten Linz to first lieutenant

 First Lt. Rachael J. Mercer to captain

“The online component of our testing programs allow much of our training to continue,” said Squadron Commander Capt. Rachael J. Mercer.

“We have had to become creative about ways in which we will interact with cadets and senior members — which includes developing an online meeting format. However, part of what makes this squadron successful is its family atmosphere. I am already delighted with the way our squadron members are looking out for each other and their needs. I expect our squadron to emerge from this stand-down stronger than ever and ready to serve the people of South Carolina!” she said.

In addition to these promotions, the squadron now has two pilots who have worked toward achieving their Civil Air Patrol ratings. Two members have accepted new jobs within the squadron, making it stronger and more efficient. Additionally, numerous cadets are expected to promote CAP in the month of April as well.

During this time of stand-down, anyone interested in learning more about Civil Air Patrol may contact Capt. Mercer for instructions about how to get started, which include meeting online with others in leadership.

“We are not closed for business,” she said. “We simply are having to adjust the way we operate for a time.”

Prospective cadets must attend three meetings and are eligible to complete their membership paperwork on the third visit. Senior members, who are adults 18 and over, are eligible for membership upon completing the required paperwork and background checks. Senior members need not have pilot experience nor military experience — there is a place for all sorts of backgrounds within Civil Air Patrol — whether you’re a lawyer, journalist, mechanic, accountant or a parent simply wanting to make a difference.

For more information about the ACE Basin Composite Squadron, contact Maj. Tina Peterson, CAP, at 843-460-7445 or


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