Mary Barb, 18, has been a member of the Civil Air Patrol for 5 1/2 years, and on May 10, she earned the second highest achievement in the CAP when she was promoted from cadet major to cadet lieutenant colonel. But this achievement is just a stepping stone to the highest CAP award of all, cadet colonel, an award that less than 1 percent of all cadets, only 2,000 to date, have achieved.
Barb, a home-schooled senior who graduated in May, joined the Civil Air Patrol after attending an air show.
“My brother-in-law is in the Air Force and when I was attending an air show, I met some of the cadets from CAP and found out that there was a local squadron,” said Barb.” My dad and my brothers joined with me. It’s been intense.There are 18 promotions from basic cadet to colonel and specific requirements for each level with about two months to complete each level.”
To earn her promotion to Lt. Colonel Barb, who is deputy commander of her squadron, took a written leadership test, a written aerospace test, passed a stringent physical fitness test and went through three board reviews.
Her new duties will include being in charge of all staff training and overseeing the training of the 76 cadets on the roster.
“I have nine cadets on my training staff and I have to train them on how to train cadets effectively, to be prepared for their classes and to know what their duties are,” said Barb. “My position has a huge influence on new cadets. It’s up to me to make sure the classes are relevant.”
CAP cadets have a wide variety of classes from aerodynamics, to rocket building, leadership, how to plan scheduled events, logistics, how to take notes and organize a schedule, march and drill, Air Force customs and courtesies. Emergency training and physical fitness are included at all levels.
Barb is responsible for three flights of cadets; basic cadets, cadets who have earned their first stripe and advanced cadets not yet on the training staff.
While she has no current plans to attend college, Barb is sure she will be using the leadership and management skills she has learned through her involvement with the CAP throughout her life.
Barb has plans to have a big ceremony in the fall when she earns the highest CAP rank of colonel.
“It’s a big challenge to take on right now, because I’m also in 4-H and my father is running for county supervisor, but I’m excited to be doing it.”
Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.