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Personal Goals Drive Cadet To Leadership And More

June 23, 2020

Cadet Dominica Thomas joined Civil Air Patrol in 2017.  When asked what was her motivation to join, she replied, “I wanted to be a pilot.  CAP had set up a booth at one of the Legacy flight Academy events that I had volunteered to work.  At the event I saw two cadets in uniform.  Intrigued, I walked over to the booth.  They told me I could become a pilot and that’s when I was hooked.”

Cadet Thomas joined the Marietta Air Museum Cadet Squadron (MAMCS) in the summer of 2018 when her family was transferred to Georgia.  She immediately got involved and started exhibiting her leadership skills from the very beginning.  Participating in all of the activities afforded to her through her Civil Air Patrol membership.  C/CMSgt Thomas became the Cadet Squadron Commander in January of 2020.

Cadet Chief Master Sergeant Thomas stands with a German Shepherd at a Civil Air Patrol activity.
Photo Credit: C/1st Lt Katie Goins, GA454

When asked about her biggest hurdles to overcome in Civil Air Patrol, she replied, “Leading during a global pandemic has been the biggest hurdle I have had to overcome in CAP.  It has been very discouraging becoming Cadet Commander and losing the ability to meet in person.  It has been extremely difficult to find ways to stay motivated.  At the beginning of the quarantine, I was not motivated.  I felt hopeless and like my term as Cadet Commander was just going to be wasted.  Then I thought about my team and I realized that they were probably feeling the same way I was.  I remembered that I was their leader, and I have a responsibility to help them get through this and to stay motivated. “  She went on to say, “ I may not be able to motivate them in person, but my staff and I have continuously worked to find new ways to keep the other cadets encouraged, committed, and involved. “ 

The squadron is staying in touch with the cadets and continues to mentor them using virtual communication tools.  Thomas went on to say, “I take great pride in how our squadron is handling this situation.  We are still ensuring cadets are getting promoted, important task are getting signed off and other milestones are achieved.”  Not only does the squadron have cadets consistently meeting, but also they are still growing.  The pandemic may have been a hurdle in the beginning, but it has taught them the importance of finding new ways to stay motivated, and the hard work and dedication is one of Cadet Thomas’ biggest motivating factors.

Another motivating factor for Cadet Thomas is knowing that she was part of something bigger than just herself.  “When I went tom my first CAP meeting I was the only black person there.  I could not help but feel out of place at most CAP events.  One of the reasons this country is so amazing is because it is so diverse.  Although this program lacks diversity that has not stopped me from accomplishing my goals.  All of the cadets and senior members have motivated and pushed me to accomplish my goals in this program. “  She continued, “I learned the cadet super chart had been changed and three new awards had been added with people who looked like me!”  She began to realize that she was not the only one that recognizes the lack of diversity in CAP.  She is motivated to continue to be an outstanding example for others and to show people from diverse backgrounds that Civil Air Patrol can be for them too.

Upon entering Civil Air Patrol Cadet Thomas had and still has the expectation and goal of flying.  It was her only expectation.  Her goals and objectives have never waivered.  She says, “I still want to continue flying, but I

Thomas and her father, a Major in the United States Air Force, visit the Air Force Memorial overlooking the Pentagon.
Photo Credit: Maj Kenneth Thomas, USAF

now also want to continue growing in my leadership knowledge and experience.”  She went on to elaborate, “I have learned that CAP is about more than aviation.  I want to continue to reach out to and recruit new cadets.  This program has the potential to expose cadets from all different backgrounds to opportunities that they might not be exposed to.”  She didn’t realize that she could be involved with the emergency services aspect of CAP when she originally joined.  Thomas is committed to being part of the solution when it comes to representation.  “I have yet to meet a black female pilot in the Emergency Services program.  I would like to become a Mission Pilot because I believe in the program and its support in emergencies.  I want to set an example for every cadet, and show them that they can accomplish any goal they set their mind to.”

Her advice to new and current cadets is simple – “Take advantage of every opportunity in this program.  Even if there are things you didn’t see yourself originally doing, try it.  You lose nothing by trying something new, but you may end of gaining something!”  Cadet Thomas is close to taking her check ride for her Private Pilot’s license.  It is safe to say the sky is the limit for this amazing young leader in Civil Air Patrol.  

Tagged As: Cadet Program

For More Information:

1st Lt Richard Rector
Marietta Air Museum Cadet Squadron Public Affairs Officer
(678) 306-6365 ext. 151
publicaffairs@marietta.cap.gov

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