Civil Air Patrol

Why Encampment?

Encampment? Is it for me?

By 2nd Lt TeriLee Hammond

Yes! Yes, it is! For young and old alike! Encampment is a unique opportunity to learn new things, brush up on things forgotten and meet amazing people.  The Utah Wing Encampment, Desert Hawk, is held each summer during June or July. Plans for Desert Hawk Fifteen (DHXV) are under way and will be set by the time you are reading this article. Go online and find out more about this amazing experience.

But is it for me?


You will attend encampment the first year as a basic where you will be challenged in every aspect of cadet life. There will be team building activities, learning about and getting hands on experience in aerospace related lessons, learning proper customs and courtesies and furthering your physical fitness. Encampment can be a test to your character since it can sometimes be an intensive environment that will sometimes take you out of your comfort zone but in the end, it will be worth every ounce of blood, sweat and tears. You’ll make memories that last a lifetime and even some amazing friends. Encampment is not all just work but fun as well through activities such as rappelling, obstacle courses, firearm training and O Flights. Plus, remember that completing an encampment is necessary before attending any National Cadet Special activities and also a requirement needed to be a cadet officer.

When you complete your first year of encampment, hopefully you will want to return as a staff member, also known as cadre.  Support cadre is needed for mess, public affairs, color guard, logistics, the list goes on. There are also opportunities for Flight, Squadron and Command Cadre as you work your way up through the chain of command. What better way to build a resume and strengthen your leadership skills than to attend encampment each year!

Senior Members – Yes you!

Senior members are always needed to help encampment run smoothly. Command, Mess, Logistics, Communications, Transportation, Public Affairs, Safety, Administration, Finance, Medical, Chaplain, Instructors, etc. are all positions that need to be filled with a Senior Member. More hands equal less work! Even if you are unable to attend the full week, positions can be found if you are able to only attend part of the week. Encampment is for seasoned CAP veterans all the way down to the newest senior members. Last year former Wing Commander, Col Jerry Wellman, helped out as a TAC officer and the first year I attended I had been in the CAP program only a couple of short months when a newly made CAP friend talked me into helping out as the PAO. Encampment is a great way to help shape the next generation of leaders and get involved with the amazing youth that are also a part of the Civil Air Patrol family. Making new CAP friends and catching up with old ones is always a bonus.

The Historic Wendover Air Field and Base

Desert Hawk Encampment is a truly unique experience. Where else can you spend time doing PT or other activities under the same roof that once housed the famous B-29 the Enola Gay? Where else can you eat in the same dining facilities that the enlisted men of WWII did? Catch a ride in a vintage ‘Deuce and a half’ to your lessons in the Officers Service Club? Take a tour of the historic base and see where the top secret Norden bombsights were kept, see the atomic bomb loading pits, look for casing where fighter planes had their forward guns adjusted and walk where the great men and women of WWII once walked?


The average cost of encampment is around $200 with a $50 savings if you register before the early deadline.  This price includes meals for a week and all of the activities during that week. Being unable to pay for encampment shouldn’t hold back a cadet who wants to participate. The wing works hard to keep encampment affordable for all families but for some it is still hard to achieve. However, thanks to Air Force support, CAP has special funding available to help cover encampment fees. Please check out for more information about assistance.

Hope to see you there!

DHXIV Cadet Commander C/Capt. Colten Connelly – “Encampment in my mind is one of the biggest building blocks in any cadet’s career. As a cadet attending you will learn so much. Such as, leadership, aerospace, drill, teamwork, and even history. Included in the encampment is an orientation flight, rifle shooting and so much more. I strongly suggest that you attend Encampment. It will change your life, I know it did mine.”

DHXIV Deputy Cadet Commander C/Capt. Broc Hoggan – “Encampment has taught me some of the most valuable things in life. It has taught me how to follow as well as lead. It has taught me how to plan and how to execute. Most importantly, encampment has taught me how to act, what to value, and who I can be. I am grateful for the life changing opportunity I have every summer. I am grateful for encampment.”

1st Lt Kelsi Christensen – “I’ve attended encampment many times as a cadet but also as a senior member. I’ve never attended an encampment without new growth and a fresh outlook on life. As a cadet, you get the hands-on leadership but as a senior member you’re more on the sidelines. You’re learning how to observe, mentor, and teach from the background. You learn more about conflict resolution. You leave knowing the future world is in good hands.”

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