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Tar River Cadet attends Cadet Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base

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Members of Flight 12 at Cadet Officer School just before Project X. (From left to right) Front: Cadets Isakson, Holcomb, and Smith. Middle: Cadets Christenson, O'Brien, Cummings, and Green. Rear: Cadets Brown and Hibbard. Photo Credit: Maj Isaiah Tamblingson, FLWG (click image to view full size)
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C/Maj Richard Green part of the 50th COS class in Montgomery, Alabama

7/27/2018––From 24 June to July 6 2018, I attended Cadet Officer School (COS) at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. There were 105 Civil Air Patrol (CAP) cadets there, so it was the largest National Cadet Special Activity I have attended by quite a margin. 

At COS, we were broken up into flights of eight or nine cadets and assigned flight instructors, one of whom was with CAP and one who was with the U.S. Air Force (USAF). In my case, I had Colonel Zedonek and Staff Sergeant Miedona. Colonel Zedonek worked as a member of the White House communications staff during the end of the Carter Administration and the beginning of the Reagan Administration. Sergeant Miedona is a USAF reservist who works in the Chicago Police Department. Class was primarily conducted in an auditorium in the Squadron Officer College.
We had a very good selection of speakers while there. A standout was retired Colonel Doctor “Coyote” Smith. He gave a great presentation on war doctrine. He covered notable thinkers such as the Thucydides, Sun Tzu, and von Clausewitz. He then covered emerging technologies in a presentation he created for the Air Force Chief of Staff in 2012, entitled “The Scary Presentation.” This covered 11 technologies, ranging from the mundane, such as nuclear proliferation to the distinctly out there, such as tailored viruses. 
Major General Mark Smith, CAP National Commander, told us about his roles as CAP's National Commander and CEO, along with some of the things he has done during his term, such as the development and implementation of the new PT program.
Our flight instructors also ran seminars related to the day’s topics, such as critical thinking and ethics. During these we also presented three speeches. The first one was on the cadet seated next to us, who we were to interview and quickly come up with a two minute speech about. Next we did a much longer seven to nine minute presentation on an aviation pioneer chosen from a list. I did mine on Col John Boyd, writer of the literal book on fighter tactics, the Energy-Maneuverability Equation that has dictated fighter design for decades, and the Observe-Orient-Decide-Act loop. Finally, we presented our personal leadership philosophies. There were also four essays. Three of them were summary essays, based on the assigned readings. The last one was the Capstone, in which we introduced ourselves as a hypothetical cadet commander of an encampment. And of course there were the Team Leadership Problems, very interesting practical exercises. Similar to this was Project X, a combination obstacle course and Team Leadership Problem designed to be challenging for USAF officers. Although I can’t give specifics on that project, it was a very good time.
On July the Fourth, we attended a baseball game featuring the Minor League teams the Montgomery Biscuits and the Pensacola Wahoos. I, like many of my fellow cadets, ate concessions for dinner that day. Someone bought and wore a biscuit hat, which was a foam hat shaped like a biscuit. No logos on it, just a biscuit. The Fourth of July fireworks afterwards were very impressive.
While we learned a lot during Cadet Officer School, we were also given freedom. Meals were whatever we bought from the Dining Facility or Exchange on a stipend. During our downtime we were free to go out and get what we needed, work on our essays, or socialize, with the caveat that regardless of how much you like the other people here, there was still work to be done. To my knowledge everyone passed, so giving us all of this freedom didn’t work out too badly at all.
Overall it was an excellent experience I would recommend to anyone able to go. Very informative, a great networking opportunity and quite enjoyable, too. 
Cadet Officer School celebrated its 50th year as a National Cadet Special Activity this year and it was really special to be a member of the 50th class of this great NCSA. A big thank you to all of the staff who made this possible. When I am a senior member, I hope to serve on COS staff one day.