The Civil Air Patrol Composite Squadron MO-153 is scheduled to send six cadets and two senior members to compete in a color guard competition Feb. 21 through 23 at Danner Hall and Building 1288 on the post.
The CAP Missouri Wing’s annual competition — which will test cadets on raising, lowering and folding the flag, physical fitness and aerospace and emergency services knowledge — is expected to expand from the six squadrons it hosted from across the state last year, according to CAP members.
“We’ve been meeting most Saturdays and just about every Tuesday,” said Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Jose Nicanor, a color guard member.
Beginning in July, he said, the team has spent significant amounts of time every week in preparation for the winter competition, with some practices lasting longer than four hours.
“I’m pretty nervous, but I hope that we’ve put enough time in that we can do good,” said Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Kim Dreisewerd, who expects to join the military when she’s older.
Civil Air Patrol is an all-volunteer organization, meaning members are not paid for their time — neither cadets nor adults.
“We get paid in self-satisfaction or we don’t, and that’s on us — that’s not on the program,” said CAP 1st Lt. Charles Gordon, who, along with CAP 1st Lt. Lester Mitchell, serves as an adult advisor for the squadron.
Regardless, Dreisewerd expressed dedication to the program.
“We need to put time in, we need to be prepared,” she said. “We could just blow it off, but then what would it be worth in the long run? We have to practice.”
According to squadron senior members, cadets with the color guard took initiative in organizing their own practices for the event, nearly independent of help from adults in the unit.
“It’s up to the cadets to organize everything, practice and do the whole program,” Mitchell said.
Nicanor said he felt honored to be invited to the color guard, as only experienced cadet officers and noncommissioned officers are given the opportunity.
“Being selected to the team, I feel a huge responsibility in coming to practices so that I don’t let my team down in the future at the competition,” he said.
CAP 1st Lt. Michelle Spurgeon, who leads the local squadron, will accompany Gordon as the two senior members present at the event.
Last year, Wentzville’s program defeated Squadron MO-153 in the same competition, local CAP officials said.
For Gordon, that loss is not forgotten, yet he remains optimistic.
“We’d like to see them beat Wentzville this year,” he said. “If we win here, there’s some small — maybe one in 100 — chance that we win all the way.”
The team must win the upcoming state competition and the subsequent regional level contest to have a shot at their ultimate goal — the National Cadet Competition.