Owen Young ‘25 says he happened to find his passion for aviation at 12 years old when a family friend shared their experience about their involvement in the Civil Air Patrol (CAP).
“You have to be 12 to join, but a few months leading up to when I was 12, [my friends] were showing me pictures and telling me about CAP and it just sounded like a really fun and interesting thing to do,” said Owen. “In order to join, you have to attend three meetings. So I started going as soon as I turned 12. I decided I really liked it and it's something that I wanted to do. So I joined.”
The Civil Air Patrol is a public service organization for carrying out emergency services and disaster relief missions nationwide. As the auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, CAP's citizen volunteers are there to search for and find the lost, provide comfort in times of disaster, and work to keep the homeland safe. The organization has 56,000 members who devote their time, energy, and expertise toward the well-being of their communities, while also promoting aviation and related fields through aerospace education and helping shape future leaders through CAP’s cadet program.
Owen feels fortunate to have discovered his passion early on in life. He plans to use his experience in the CAP’s cadet program to enlist in the U.S. Air Force upon graduation from Catholic Central. His involvement gives him a leg up on the competition and prepares him for the skills needed to become qualified as a U.S. Air Force pilot.
“I can talk to pilots and enlisted members of the Air Force because we have contact with members of the Air Force, Marines, Army and Navy. There are so many connections through Civil Air Patrol so you can learn about all the different jobs in the military or even as civilian pilots and air traffic controllers,” said Owen.
Owen went on to explain that his involvement in the cadet program will earn him military grades before entering into the Airforce. He has already earned the Billy Mitchell Award, which is the second lieutenant promotion within CAP. As of now he would be able to enlist in the Air Force as an Airman First Class (E-3) instead of an Airman Basic (E-1).
Though he has his career path planned, Owen said he didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do before he joined CAP.
“Once I joined, I thought, ‘oh, flying is really cool and I really like it. I want to be a pilot.’ Then, talking to Air Force pilots and others like Air Force personnel and commercial pilots, I knew I wanted to be a pilot in the Air Force. So being in Civil Air Patrol has definitely helped me realize what I really want to do in my life.”
So far Owen has been able to fly three zero gravity flights and one glider flight.
While Owen makes it sound simple, the commitment he takes on is much more than a hobby - it has truly become part of his day-to-day life.
“As a member, Owen regularly presents at meetings, and his presentations are scored to be sure it hits all of the scoring metrics in order to promote to the next cadet grade (ex. from Cadet Chief Master Sergeant to Cadet 1st Lieutenant),” explains his mother Jill Young. “Members also have to meet physical fitness standards, so they have physical training at least three meetings a month. Owen was the Cadet Commander for the Livingston Composite Squadron GLR-MI-007 for almost one and a half years, which is much longer than the typical six months.”
Mrs. Young expresses that she and Mr. Young could not be more proud of their son.
“Owen is a better person because of Civil Air Patrol, and we would recommend joining your local squadron to anyone 12 or older as a cadet, and 21 or older as a Senior Member,” said Mrs. Young. “Aircrew, Ground Team, or a non-field position - it is all possible. No experience is necessary, the program is designed to get you training in whatever path you think is right for you.”
Detroit Catholic Central will be launching a new Aviation program in the 2023 - 2024 school year that will allow students to work toward earning their Private Pilot's License. The classroom instruction portion of the program will happen at Catholic Central. The students will work with a flight school off site to earn their in-air flight hours.
The Aviation program will also allow students to work toward their FAA part 107 Drone/Remote Pilot's License. These curriculum additions will augment the STEM offerings in the George & Mary Turek Hall of Science and position students to be successful in the burgeoning Aviation Industry.
The Flying Shamrocks Aviation & Aerospace Club kicked off at CC this year. Its mission is to foster an interest in Aviation & Aerospace by hearing from speakers, visiting relevant locations and having lively discussions. The Flying Shamrocks meet bi-weekly and kick off their year by hosting Dr. Patrick Hammer, CC alumni & Aerospace Engineer, to hear about his career at the Air Force Research Laboratory.
Learn more about STEM at Catholic Central and tour the construction of the new at www.catholiccentral.net/stem
Learn more and find a squadron near you at www.gocivilairpatrol.com/