Arlington, Va. — More than three dozen of America’s youth, ages 17 to 21, have left the country to represent the United States on an international exchange of goodwill and a mutual love of aviation. Since 1947 the International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE) has brought together the best of the youth leaders from multiple countries to promote goodwill and understanding, and to support the growth of aerospace knowledge around the globe. Today the International Air Cadet Exchange Association consists of 19 countries and exchanges over 300 cadets every year. Of the more than 24,000 cadets in Civil Air Patrol’s 52 wings, only 40 of the nation’s top cadets were selected to be the ambassadors from our country, making IACE the most competitive and sought-after of Civil Air Patrol’s National Cadet Special Activities.
The trip begins with cadets flying to their launching hub. Civil Air Patrol operates two hubs in the United States: one in Washington D.C. for cadets flying to the eastern countries and Canada, and one in San Francisco for cadets flying to Australia, New Zealand and China. Once in their host countries, cadets meet the participants from other countries in the exchange. This year the United States is welcoming 35 cadets from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Belgium, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, and the Republic of Korea. Over the next three days, these visiting cadets will tour Washington D.C. and the Steven Udvar-Hazy Aerospace Museum before flying to their host states to learn about American culture and share their passion for aviation as the world leaders of tomorrow. You can follow the cadets’ journeys through the United States on social media with #IACE2016USA.
Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force, which consists of regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees. CAP, in its Total Force role, operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and 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 78 lives annually. Civil Air Patrol’s 56,000 members nationwide also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Its members additionally play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program. Performing missions for America for the past 75 years, CAP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit www.capvolunteernow.com for more information.