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Civil Air Patrol Cadet Earns Highest Achievement

April 29, 2022

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. ­(March 24, 2022) – Civil Air Patrol cadet Adithya Patil of Jon E. Kramer Composite Squadron 10 in Palo Alto, California earned the highest cadet honor last week when he became only the 2,388th cadet in Civil Air Patrol history to receive the General Carl A. Spaatz Award which also comes with a promotion to Cadet Colonel.

Cadet Col. Patil, who is currently a freshman studying Computer Science at Georgia Institute of Technology, joined CAP when he was in ninth grade and credits his time at CAP for helping him get to where he is today. He notes “I came into the program as an introverted, overtly shy ninth-grader who could barely speak up in a crowd of a few people.” And his journey through the program was not easy.  He goes on “I needed to put myself in scenarios that scared me a lot of the time, whether it be through leading groups, public speaking, or much more. In the end, the opportunities that CAP gave me paid off in large ways. They enabled me to take up leadership positions in other organizations, learn skills that I otherwise would've avoided, and push through obstacles that I would have given up when faced with.”

CAP turned out to be rewarding and an opportunity for growth in other unexpected ways as well.  He explains “Not only that, I had the chance to serve my local community in large ways. Throughout my cadet career, I served in Emergency Services in the context of Search and Rescue Missions, Wildfire Relief, COVID community aid, and much more. The chance to help a community in such a large way as just a teenager is an opportunity many don't get elsewhere, but I was able to through CAP. CAP also gave me a clear direction with what I want to do with my future. I was exposed to many STEM fields as a cadet and got to explore aspects of it such as aerospace engineering through CAP's STEM programs.” 

Gen Spaatz, for whom the award is named, was commander of Strategic Air Forces in Europe during the Second World War. After the war he was the first Chief of Staff when the Unites States Air Force was officially formed in 1947. When he retired from the USAF, he served as the first chairman of the Civil Air Patrol National Board.  

Obtaining the Spaatz requires first progressing through 16 program achievements and then passing a four-part exam testing cadets on writing, fitness, aerospace, moral reasoning, and leadership skills.  Less than half a percent of all cadets will get their Spaatz!

About Civil Air Patrol
Established in 1941, Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and as such is a member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 555 single-engine aircraft and 2,250 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and performs about 90% of all search and rescue operations within the contiguous United States as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Often using innovative cellphone forensics and radar analysis software, CAP was credited by the AFRCC with saving 108 lives last year. CAP’s 56,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief, and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state, and local agencies. As a nonprofit organization, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace education using national academic standards-based STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education resources. Members also serve as mentors to over 23,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs.

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