The Civil Air Patrol Cadet program met at the Jamestown airport on Thursday to distribute some very well-deserved awards.
The award ceremony, which was brusque and to the point, saw four young cadets receive distinguishing awards for their service in CAP.
Tyler DeJoe, Clayton Hanson and Brandon Powell all received the Mitchell Award, which is a challenging and time-consuming honor to achieve, according to 1st Lt. Todd Hanson.
“In the CAP cadet program, there are many achievement levels,” said Hanson. “One of the most notable is the Mitchell Award. That’s when a cadet goes from being an NCO to an officer. It’s also widely recognized by colleges and the military as a prestigious award. It takes about two years to get it, and that’s if you move through the program very quickly. (These cadets) now can enter the military with an advance ranking, and if you go to many colleges, the Billy Mitchell award is recognized as a high honor by those institutions as well.”
According to Hanson, several tasks and tests need to be completed before earning the Mitchell Award. Over the course of two years, cadets need to undergo drill training, fitness training and aerospace training and prove their competency in each field. Cadets are also required to attend a week encampment at an Air Force base to qualify for the award.
William “Billy” Mitchell, the man after whom the award is named, is widely considered to be the father of the modern United States Air Force. He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1946, the highest award that can be bestowed upon a civilian.
“The Mitchell Award is the award that every cadet eyes when they join CAP,” said Hanson. “Tonight, three of our cadets finally achieved it.”
“It took a lot of perseverance to earn this,” said Clayton Hanson. “If you fail, it requires that you learn what you did wrong and improve upon it. It took a long time to get here, but it was well worth all the effort.”
“The Mitchell is my first step to becoming an actual officer,” said Brandon Powell. “It gives me an advantage if I were to join the Air Force. Getting there was the hardest part. Some of the early steps were difficult for me, but I was able to overcome those trials and now I’m very happy to be given the honor of receiving this award.”
Both Hanson and Powell’s family were there to congratulated their sons on their accomplishments.
Additionally, Andrew Rodriguez earned the Wright Brothers Award. Orville and Wilbur Wright were the first people credited with controlled, sustained, powered, heavier-than-air flight when they flew for the first time in Kitty Hawk in 1903.
CAP meets at the main terminal in the Jamestown Airport every Thursday from 6-9 p.m. Guests who might be interested in joining CAP are encouraged to attend and participate.
More information on CAP can be found at www.cap.gov.