FAIRFIELD, NJ - Cedar Grove High School graduate and United States Air Force Academy Cadet Michael Matarazzo came home to visit New Jersey Wing’s Curtiss Wright Composite Squadron in Fairfield recently. 

Matarazzo was a Civil Air Patrol member while a student at Cedar Grove High School.

"I joined CAP because of the flying opportunities and the leadership program. It helped me prepare for the Air Force Academy,” Matarazzo said.

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Currently in his second year at USAFA, he told the cadets about his experience in the Falcon Scholar program, in the program high-potential USAFA candidates attend a one year prep school. 

Asked for advice on applying to colleges or service academies, Matarazzo encouraged the cadets to focus on their academics and stay involved with Civil Air Patrol. He credited his time in the Civil Air Patrol with helping him develop leadership skills and a desire to serve. Matarazzo had joined Civil Air Patrol for flying opportunities and stayed for the leadership.

Interested youth ages 12 through 18 are welcome to visit their local squadron. The Curtiss-Wright Composite Squadron meets at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday evenings at the American Red Cross in Fairfield, NJ. Prospective cadets, ages 12-18, and their parents are always welcome. For more information, visit http://curtiss-wright.njwg.cap.gov/

The squadron runs cadet programs for youth ages 12 to 18, focused on aerospace education, fitness, and character and leadership development. The Civil Air Patrol’s mission includes Aerospace Education, Search and Rescue and Cadet Programs. 

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 63,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. In addition, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to over 26,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com or www.CAP.news for more information.