Following on from a highly successful visit by members of the New Hampshire Wing of the Civil Air Patrol last year during which they attend our Wing Field Camp at Altcarand East Yorkshire, an invite for a 5 cadets and 2 staff was extend for a reciprocal visit to the USA.
So Mid-July found myself along with WO(ATC) D Bowman, Flt Sgt J Fawthorp 1953 (Knaresborough), Sgt J Gutteridge 1869 (Middlesbrough) Sgt C Whincup& Sgt J Preston both of 152 (City of Hull) and Cpl N Hanlon 2434 (Church Fenton) at Manchester Airport ready to start our New Hampshire adventure.
Our long journey to Boston via Toronto was uneventful with the cadets enjoying the normal Cadet activities of sleeping and eating. On arriving at Logan International, Boston we met our host for the first part of our trip, the irrepressible Captain Jessie Kapsten who seemed determined to try and cause an international incident by spending most of the first few days taking us around various historical monuments to the American War of Independence in and around Boston and the state of Massachusetts. But the highlight for many of us was the trip to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox Major League Baseball team to watch the Future Stars a reserve team game between the Lowell Spinners (Red Sox A) and the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Cleveland Indians A).
Four days after arriving in the USA saw us with a very early start to start the 4 hour journey to the next stage of our trip to join the New Hampshire/Vermont Summer Encampment at Norwich University, Vermont. On arrival at Norwich University the cadets where thrown straight into the Encampment joining the CAP Cadets on the DCCT range before being allocated to a Cadet Flight Commander to shadow for the rest of our time at the Encampment. For the rest of the week our 5 cadets threw themselves into the Encampment taking part in all of the activities and some of the Training activities being undertaken by the CAP Basic Cadets, this include early morning PT at “Oh my god its early” time of 05:30 as well as the Rappelling Tower and Climbing Wall. The week also gave the cadets from both organisations chance to learn a little of each other’s drill with varying levels of success. Our cadets also took sat the CAP equivalent of the 1st Class cadet examination and I am happy to report all them did pretty well with 2 of our cadets achieving highly credible scores, in fact passing the CAP Basic Cadet Exam.
After the final Cadet Review and presentations we all went our separate ways to enjoy the last part of trip staying with host families for the remainder of our stay, Myself, WO Bowman, Sgt Preston and Flt Sgt Fawthorp went to the Seacoast area of New Hampshire whilst Sgt Gutteridge, Sgt Whincup and Cpl Hanlon went to Nashua. This final part of the exchange saw everyone have different experiences from visiting water parks, aviation museums and seeing the sights of New Hampshire to possibly the highlight of the trip for myself, WO Bowman and Sgt Preston who were whisked off to New York for the day by our host and Major John Washington to see the Freedom Tower, Central Park, Times Square and the Empire State Building.
As our final night in the USA arrived we donned our Uniforms and enjoyed a last night with our hosts as guests of the Seacoast Composite Squadron at their weekly parade night, during which our cadets took great delight in putting back the CAP cadet Drill 6 months by teaching the whole Squadron basic ATC Drill.
With the continued support of Adult staff on both sides of the Atlantic this Exchange Program looks to continue with members of the NH CAP visiting us next year at the Wing Field Camp at Altcar and cadets from our Wing travelling to New Hampshire in the summer of 2016.