Civil Air Patrol Cadet Jack W. Stafford was presented with the General Billy Mitchell Award by Major Mark Peters Monday evening during a ceremony at Los Alamos County Airport. The son of Darrik and Emma Stafford, he and his father, who is a CAP Second Lieutenant, have belonged to CAP for four years.
The award, which is only presented to some 1,000 cadets each year, is earned after a cadet completes the first eight achievements of the cadet program. In addition, the cadet must pass an arduous 100-question examination testing leadership theory and aerospace topics, as well as a rigorous physical fitness test. Established in 1964, the award honors the late General Billy Mitchell, an aviation pioneer, advocate and staunch supporter of an independent Air Force for America.
Achieving this award means Stafford is now promoted to Cadet Second Lieutenant and eligible for advanced placement to the grade of Airman First Class if he chooses to join the US Air Force. He also is eligible for advanced placement in AFROTC, various CAP scholarships and CAP special activity opportunities. His future ambitions include obtaining his pilot’s license and airframe and power plant license and becoming a bush pilot.
Bryce Gentile also was promoted during Monday’s ceremony to the rank of Cadet Master Sergeant. To achieve this rank, he passed his leadership and aerospace drill and physical fitness tests.
In addition, Cadet Master Sergeants Gabe Fox, Juan Romero and Zach Lang were recognized for completing parts of Achievement 8 on their way to taking the Mitchell Milestone exam.
Cmdr. Bill Wolfe said the local cadets are involved in STEM activities such as RC Airplanes, Rocketry, Electronics/Robotic and Space Exploration. Cadets also participate in the Cyber Patriot program assisted by coaches from Los Alamos National Laboratory. They can learn to fly gliders once they are 14 years old, and after 90 days in the program, can start orientation flights in a powered aircraft. Several cadets are slated to participate in a search and rescue exercise based in Moriarty next weekend.
Wolfe thanked Los Alamos County Airport Manager Dave Ploeger and County officials for their support of the Civil Air Patrol. For more information about the local CIP program, call 505.795.3025.