Sixth grader Josh North's adventure begins the day he is introduced to the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) by cadets at an airshow sponsored by the USAF. He joins the cadets, and after some hard work and a test is certified as a radio operator, capable of participating in search and rescue missions. To put the new cadets to a practical test, their unit, comprised of boys and girls, goes on a bivouac in the mountains of Southern California. The first night out, the cadets succeed in dealing with rough adult bikers bent on causing mischief. The next day the practice mission becomes real when the commanding officer is injured in a fall. The cadets fulfill their parts while Josh, perched alone on a mountain, guides a USAF Jolly Green Giant search and rescue helicopter to the area and is then taken aboard the rescue aircraft with the injured man. Three months later, Josh and his fellow cadets are commended by the commanding officer, now returned to full health. Josh is the narrator of the story and his words convey comedy, fear, or pride in just the right places where an adolescent reader expects it. His description of equipment and routines is simple, yet complete, and the reader gets a full picture of CAP along with the adventure.
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