Socorro CAP cadet headed for Air Force Academy
Hanson Oxford, a cadet in the Socorro Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, has received an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., and will begin his training there in June. Oxford, the son of William and Christina Oxford, graduates from Socorro High School on Friday.
Cadets at the Air Force Academy follow a four-year program leading to a bachelor’s degree and a commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the Air Force. Admission is highly competitive — only about 10 percent of qualified applicants receive appointments to the academy.
Oxford is a charter member of Socorro’s CAP squadron, joining at its inception in 2007. He now holds the rank of cadet captain, and serves as the squadron’s cadet commander, the top cadet position. While in CAP, he has attended encampments conducted by the New Mexico Wing, gone to a CAP flight academy and flown an aircraft solo, and served as an aircraft marshaller at the world’s largest air show in Oshkosh, Wis.
He also has taken a leadership role in conducting Socorro’s annual M Mountain Fly-In.
He received a CAP Achievement Award from the New Mexico Wing commander, and received the squadron’s 2012 Cadet of the Year Award from the Air Force Association.
“Hanson has developed into a dedicated and effective leader in our squadron, and we are extremely proud of his appointment to the Air Force Academy,” said CAP Maj. Dave Finley, commander of the squadron. “He has worked hard and taken full advantage of the opportunities that CAP offers to cadets, and that has paid off. I’m sure he will do well at the Air Force Academy and ultimately distinguish himself as an Air Force officer.”
Oxford is the second Socorro CAP cadet to earn an appointment to a service academy. Trey Thunborg, a 2010 graduate of Socorro High School, currently attends the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. Also a charter member of the Socorro CAP squadron, Thunborg will graduate in 2014 and receive a commission as an ensign in the Coast Guard. While a cadet at the Coast Guard Academy, Thunborg has crossed the Atlantic aboard the academy’s square-rigged sailing ship Eagle and participated in an international team competition for cadets of military academies around the world.
The Socorro Composite Squadron includes both cadets and adult members. Its cadets have attended numerous statewide activities in addition to national summer special activities, including flight training, air show support, space technology training and honor guard academy. Adult members and cadets participate in search and rescue and emergency services missions throughout the state. Socorro CAP members have earned commendation awards at the statewide level. The squadron routinely supports events such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies, and the cadet color guard posts colors at numerous community events.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 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. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies.
The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 26,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 71 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com or www.capvolunteernow.com for more information.