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Squadron 156 Parent Newsletter - October 2020

October 5, 2020

Message from the Deputy Commander

Dear Parents,

The new school year has started for your cadets. Although the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change what we call “normal”, I am hopeful that you are each returning a routine that is as “normal” as possible during these unprecedented times. Like you, I had hoped that the health crisis would have passed before we moved into a new school year. Since it has not, I believe that the best way to share things with our CAP family that are happening is through a newsletter to all of you. As always, I encourage you to reach out to me directly if you have any questions or concerns. I look forward to your feedback.

Thank you for your support of our amazing cadets and the Civil Air Patrol.


Capt. Joe Spears

Tri-Valley Composite Squadron 156

Deputy Commander for Cadets




Promotions and Awards

Please join us during our meeting on Wednesday, October 7th at 6:30 PM to honor cadets who earned promotions since our last promotion ceremony:

  • C/TSgt Pacheco completed Achievement 5 – the Charles Lindbergh Award – and is promoted to C/MSgt
  • C/TSgt Telli completed Achievement 5 – the Charles Lindbergh Award – and is promoted to C/MSgt

New Members

Please welcome the following members who joined our squadron during the month of September:

  • Cadet Choudhry
  • Cadet Gohres
  • Cadet Babu
  • Cadet Sethi
  • Cadet Sethi


For those of you who were not able to join the recent CadetInvest presentation, a recording of the meeting is available for viewing here:

CadetInvest is a program that offers financial assistance to pay for flight training, career exploration and undergraduate education. The application period is open through 31 December 2020. Apply Now!

Staff Selection Process Begins

Announcements are going out to our cadets this week to apply for Cadet Command Staff for the December 2020 – May 2021 term. This is the first of two cadet selection activities that are scheduled.

The first activity, which runs from now until the end of the month, is to select Flight Commanders, Flights Sergeants, and possibly some higher level positions in the squadron.

The second activity, which will run through the month of November, will be to select support staff and element leaders.

Cadets are encouraged to apply for as many positions as they are interested in pursuing. Through this process, cadets will have an opportunity to develop and apply writing and interview skills.

Cadet Physical Fitness Test

Although we can not yet meet in-person, cadets are still required to complete the Cadet Physical Fitness Test (CPFT) and should practice good health habits at home. Last week, I shared information with cadets about how to complete the CPFT at home and are included with this newsletter.

CyberPatriots and StellarXPlorers

The CyberPatriot and StellarXPlorers competitions are continuing virtually this year. Participation is free for Squadron 156 Cadets.

CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program created by the Air Force Association to inspire K-12 students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation's future. ​At the core of the program is the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, the nation's largest cyber defense competition that puts high school and middle school students in charge of securing virtual networks. Last year, Squadron 156’s CyberPatriot competition team ranked in the top 4% of all teams in their competitive class nationwide.

StellarXplorers is a challenging, space system design competition involving all aspects of system development and operation with a spacecraft and payload focus. StellarXplorers provides specific training in the use of system simulation software, Systems Tool Kit (STK) as well as an online textbook as a curriculum supplement and study resource for online “team” Quizzes given during the competition. The actual competition is accomplished from the team’s home location. Teams are given a scenario describing the system’s mission and constraints and they provide a solution to a typical space design problem, such as orbit determination, satellite component selection, and launch vehicle planning. This is the first year that squadrons from the San Francisco Bay Area Group 2 are forming.

If your cadet is interested in either one of these competitions, it is not too late to participate. In addition, our Group recently received a generous donation of computers that cadets can use for these competitions.

Group 2 Model Rocketry Challenge

The Group 2 Model Rocketry Challenge entered the Titan Phase this week. Cadets who participate in this program receive free model rocket kits and are encouraged to complete the requirements for the cadet model rocket badge.


Squadron Budget and Dues


The Squadron 156 Budget was approved and goes into effect for the fiscal year, running October 1, 2020 – September 30, 2021.

The following cadet-program proposed expenses were approved:

  1. 2x Tello Drone Quadcopters
  2. 10x Handheld E6B Flight Computers
  3. 4x Flight Simulator Yokes
  4. AE Hands-On Supplies


To support these expenses as well as other cadet program costs, squadron dues we set at the following levels:

  • Senor Members - $50 per year
  • Cadets - $20 per year

If you are having a financial hardship, please reach out to the Deputy Commander or the Squadron Commander to have dues waived.


Instructions for taking the CPFT at home

As I mentioned in the meeting last week, cadets who are seeking a promotion in Phase 2 (as Non-Commissioned Officers) are required to complete and pass the Cadet Physical Fitness Test (CPFT) within the past 180 days. Because of the length of time California Wing Group 2 has been under shelter-in-place orders, our last CPFT was more that 180 days ago. This requirement for promotion can only be waived under the normal medical waivers (i.e. a doctor’s note). It is not waived under COVID rules but is allowed to be administered at home by a parent or other “trusted adult”. (

If you are have a health condition that prohibits you from completing the CPFT, please let me know so that I can follow the proper procedure in order to seek a waiver for this requirement as appropriate.

For your convenience, I have assembled instructions that your parents or another trusted adult can use to administer the CPFT. Those instructions are below. For those of you who will take the CPFT at home, please have your parent email me the result of the test so that I can update your records. Full details of the cadet physical fitness program are defined in CAPP 60-50 ( 

To complete the CPFT, cadets must:

  • Meet the standards one of the following running events:
    • 20m Pacer
    • Mile Run
  • Meet the standards in any two of the three events
    • Curl-ups
    • Push-ups
    • Sit & Reach

How to conduct the 20M Pacer:

This page describes the pacer test well.

Here is a youtube video that has a link to the pacer audio:

Parents should send me the number of times the cadet reached the line before having a total of two misses.

How to conduct the Mile Run:

Test Objective The objective of the assessment is to run a mile at the fastest pace possible (i.e., shortest time). If a student gets tired, it is okay to allow him or her to walk, but encourage the student to try to at least maintain a slow jog throughout the assessment. An aerobic capacity score cannot be obtained for mile times greater than 13:00, and this time would not likely be achieved at a walking pace. If students cannot complete a one-mile jog or run, they should be encouraged to complete the one-mile walk test. Note that the walk test is validated only for those age 13 and older.

Equipment and Facilities A flat and accurately measured running course, stopwatch, pencil, and score sheets are required. The course may be a track or any other measured area. The course may be measured using a tape measure or cross country wheel. Caution: If the track is metric or shorter than 440 yards, adjust the running course (1,609.34 meters = 1 mile; 400 meters = 437.4 yards; 1,760 yards = 1 mile). On a 400-metertrack the run should be four laps plus 10 yards.

Test Instructions Describe the course to the students, and encourage them to complete the distance in the shortest possible time. Remind them to listen for their time as they cross the line. Also, many students begin too fast and tire out, so it is important to remind them to use appropriate pacing to get an accurate assessment. To initiate the assessments, you can provide a signal of “Ready . . . start.” As they cross the finish line, elapsed time should be called out to the participants (or their partners) and then recorded.

Parents should send me the time (minutes and seconds) taken by the cadet to complete the course.

How to conduct Curl-ups:

Here is an example of how curl-ups are performed:

Cadet lies in a supine position on an exercise mat, knees bent at an angle of approximately 140°, feet flat on the floor, legs slightly apart, arms straight and parallel to the trunk with palms of hands resting on the mat. The fingers are stretched out and the head is in contact with the mat. Make sure cadets have extended their feet as far as possible from the buttocks while still allowing feet to remain flat on floor. The closer the feet are positioned in relation to the buttocks, the more difficult the movement.

After cadet has assumed the correct position on the mat, evaluator places a measuring strip on the mat under cadet’s legs so that cadet’s fingertips are just resting on the nearest edge of the measuring strip. The evaluator then kneels down at the cadet’s head in a position to count curlups and watch for form breaks. The evaluator places a piece of paper under the cadet’s head. The paper will assist the evaluator in judging if the cadet’s head touches down on each repetition. The evaluator should watch for the paper to crinkle each time the cadet touches it with his or her head.

Keeping heels in contact with the mat, the cadet curls up slowly, sliding fingers across the measuring strip until fingertips reach the other side; then the cadet curls back down until his or her head touches the piece of paper on the mat. Movement should be slow and gauged to the specified cadence of about 20 curl-ups per minute (1 curl every 3 seconds). The evaluator should call a cadence or use a prerecorded cadence. A recorded cadence should be used to ensure accurate testing. The cadet continues with-out pausing until he or she can no longer continue or has completed 75 curl-ups.

Parents should send me the number of curl ups that the cadet could do before he or she cannot continue.

How to conduct Push-ups:

Here is an example of how push-ups are performed:

The cadet assumes a prone position on an exercise mat with hands placed under or slightly wider than the shoulders, fingers stretched out, legs straight and slightly apart, and toes tucked under. The cadet pushes up off the mat with the arms until arms are straight, keeping the legs and back straight. The back should be kept in a straight line from head to toes throughout the test. The student then lowers the body using the arms until the elbows bend at a 90° angle and the upper arms are parallel to the floor. This movement is repeated as many times as possible. The student should push up and continue the movement until the arms are straight on each repetition. The rhythm should be approximately 20 90° push-ups per minute or 1 90° push-up every 3 seconds.

A good cadence audio for push-ups can be found here:

Students are stopped when the second form correction (mistake) is made. Only one form correction is allowed.

Parents should send me the number of push-ups that the cadet could do before he or she cannot continue or until the second mistake is made

How to conduct the Sit & Reach:

Here is an example of how to perform the sit and reach:

This assessment requires a sturdy box approximately 12 inches high. A measuring scale is placed on top of the box with the 9-inch mark parallel to the face of the box against which the student’s foot will rest. The “zero” end of the ruler is nearest the cadet. Instructions for construction of a special measuring apparatus are available. However, a wooden box and yardstick will suffice. Tape the yardstick to the top of the box with the 9-inch mark at the nearest edge of the box. The “zero” end of the yardstick is nearest the cadet.

The cadet removes his or her shoes and sits down at the test apparatus. One leg is fully extended with the foot flat against the face of the box. The other knee is bent with the sole of the foot flat on the floor. The instep is placed in line with, and 2 to 3 inches to the side of, the straight knee. The arms are extended forward over the measuring scale with the hands placed one on top of the other. With palms down, the student reaches directly forward (keeping back straight and the head up) with both hands along the scale four times and holds the position of the fourth reach for at least 1 second. After one side has been measured, the cadet switches the position of the legs and reaches again. The cadet may allow the bent knee to move to the side as the body moves forward if necessary, but the sole of the foot must remain on the floor.

Record the number of inches on each side to the nearest 1/2 inch reached, to a maximum score of 12 inches. Performance is limited to discourage hypermobility. To be in the Healthy Fitness Zone, the student should meet the standard on both the right and the left sides.

Suggestions: The bent knee can move to the side, allowing the body to move past it, but the sole of the foot must remain on the floor. Keep the back straight and the head up during the forward flexion movement. The knee of the extended leg should remain straight. Tester may place one hand above the student’s knee to help keep the knee straight. Hands should reach forward evenly. The trial should be repeated if the hands reach unevenly or the knee bends. Hips must remain square to the box. Do not allow the student to turn the hip away from the box while reaching.

Parents should send me the number of inches reached on each side to the nearest ½ inch reached.

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