This past Thursday night at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Cary, NC saw the capstone of one cadet’s career and the beginning of another as a cadet officer. Presiding over the event was the commander of the 440th Airlift Wing at Pope Army Air Field, Brigadier General James Scanlan. It was truly a great honor to have an active duty Air Force general present at this event.
The evening started with the posting of the Colors by the Apex Cadet Squadron Color Guard and a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem by Miss Sarah Summers. General Scanlan gave some opening remarks about the importance of the Spaatz award and the benefit that the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program has on the cadets and the community.
The first presentation of the evening was the promotion and presentation of the General Billy Mitchell award to Cadet Aaron Barrow. His new officer rank was pinned on by General Scanlan and Cadet Barrow’s brother, C/Capt James Barrow. Capt Michael Willis, Apex Cadet Squadron Commander, presented Cadet Barrow with a custom engraved challenge coin to commemorate his promotion. Also, a new tradition was started at Apex. In the U.S. Military, it is customary for a newly commissioned officer to give a silver dollar to the first person that renders him or her a salute. For Apex Cadet Squadron, that silver dollar is replaced with a custom engraved coin for the new cadet officer to present to the first person to salute him or her.
Next came the main event of the night, the presentation of the General Carl Spaatz award to C/Col Joshua Waters. He actually earned the award on June 14, 2014 but was finally being presented the certificate. He carries on a proud tradition at Apex Cadet Squadron by being the eighth person to earn this achievement since the unit was established in 2002. Cadet Waters is also one of the very rare cadets to pass the test on the first try showing his great dedication for the Civil Air Patrol cadet program.
After General Scanlan presented the framed certificate, Capt Willis gave Cadet Waters a custom engraved challenge coin featuring his Spaatz award number. The final presentation of the evening was done by C/Capt Kyra Willis and C/2nd Lt Jameel Holmes of the North Carolina Wing Honor Guard. They folded and presented a flag that had been flown over the U.S. Capitol Building by Senator Thom Tillis in recognition of Cadet Waters reaching this momentous milestone. Cadet Waters then gave an emotional speech thanking everyone and promoting the benefits of CAP. This speech can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/apexcadetcap .
Apex Cadet Squadron would like to thank General Scanlan for taking time out if his very busy schedule to present the awards. Apex would also like to thank Lt Col William Ryan and Capt Lloyd Blevins from Fayetteville Composite Squadron and Maj Tony Overman and Capt Patricia Overman from Goldsboro Composite Squadron for attending this event.