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“Flying the Friendly Skies” Marianna and Tallahassee Cadets Ride in C-17 Globemaster

  • Written by  Major Patrick J. White, PAO
Cadets from Tallahassee and Marianna scramble up the entry stairs on C-17 Globemaster for their O-Ride. Cadets from Tallahassee and Marianna scramble up the entry stairs on C-17 Globemaster for their O-Ride. Photo: Major Patrick J. White PAO

(Tallahassee, Florida) In an effort to expand the horizon for CAP cadets from Tallahassee and Marianna, special arrangements were made to allow both Cadets and Seniors from Tallahassee and Marianna to receive a unique Orientation Ride on a USAF C-17 Globemaster attached to the 315th Air Wing out of Charleston, South Carolina as part of the “Patriot Sands 2019” exercise conducted in conjunction with a separate FEMA mission.

Various local CAP and ROTC organizations were notified in January that the planned exercise would be held in Tallahassee on February 23 and 24 and if interested, the Cadets and Seniors would be given an “O-Ride” on the large Boeing C-17 Globemaster.

Numerous Cadets from both Tallahassee and Marianna plowed through the required paperwork and eagerly arrived at Tallahassee International Airport (TLH) anxiously looking forward to a ride in one of the biggest aircraft in the USAF fleet, and they weren’t disappointed.

Lead by Captain Ken Jacobs (Tallahassee) and Major Bruce Adams (Marianna) some 28 Cadets and Seniors went through numerous safety briefings prior to the flight and then boarded the massive aircraft for a scenic tour down the west Florida coast.

Captain Jacobs noted that “This is a massive aircraft and when we parked our Cessna 172 in front of this huge plane for photographs, it looked like a dwarf in comparison”

The Globemaster has a maximum gross weight of 580,500 lbs. and is capable of flying nearly anywhere in the world, and this particular aircraft has. Normally it operates with a crew of three but for this special mission the crew totaled six members.

During the flight, each Cadet and Senior was allowed to ascend up a set of steep stairs to the upper deck to witness what it looked like to be in the cockpit of this remarkable aircraft. Upon completing the one-hour flight, both Cadets and Seniors also visited a special exhibition of a vintage P-51 Mustang from the Tuskegee Air Force which was also visiting Tallahassee thanks to the efforts of another Tallahassee CAP Senior Member. While at the exhibit, Cadets from both Tallahassee and Marianna were asked to give a briefing to the crowd assembled to see this acclaimed World War II aircraft.

According to Major Bruce Adams (Marianna), “I don’t think we’re going to be able to wipe the smiles off the faces of our Cadets. And that’s why we love being in the Civil Air Patrol (CAP).”

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90 percent 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 80 lives annually. CAP’s 57,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. CAP also plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its Senior members serve as mentors to 24,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com for more information.

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