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Edmond, OK, cadets seek aviation experience

Junior cadets of the Edmond Civil Air Patrol learn and serve.
BY STEVE GUST Modified: April 29, 2013 at 11:05 pm •  Published: April 30, 2013

While these missions benefit the public, it's the aerospace education that draws a lot of cadets to the training.

That's the case for cadet leader Caleb Ritchie, 18, a Deer Creek High School senior.

Ritchie wants to earn his officer commission and attend the Air Force ROTC program at Oklahoma State University. From there, he will pursue a military career. He has a 3.5 grade-point average and wants to rise to the highest rank possible for a patrol cadet.

“The way I see it, there are only 293 cadets in Oklahoma,” he said. “It's not for everyone, but the few and the proud.”

He hopes to travel abroad and meet youths worldwide who share a love of aviation. His family supports his time in the organization, and he says he's “very patriotic.”

Continuing to recruit

Recruiting is an ongoing effort for the Civil Air Patrol. Cadet ranks swelled to 26,384 in 2012, up from 21,000 just four years ago.

The patrol was formed in December 1941, the week before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Under the jurisdiction of the then-Army Air Corps, the patrol logged more than 500,000 flying hours, and that war service led to the Civil Air Patrol becoming a permanent fixture.

On May 26, 1948, Congress made the patrol an auxiliary of the newly formed U.S. Air Force.

Anyone interested in membership in the Edmond Squadron should contact Kyle at