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C/2Lt Cook Earns Coveted Blue Beret

posted Sep 27, 2017, 7:46 AM by David Froiseth   [ updated Sep 27, 2017, 7:50 AM ]

On 31 Jul 2017 Civil Air Patrol (CAP) National Commander Maj Gen Joseph R. Vazquez presented the blue beret to Gainesville Composite Squadron’s cadet second lieutenant Elijah Cook at the National Blue Beret (NBB).  The NBB is a two week CAP National Cadet Special Activity, with the second week overlapping with the annual Experimental Aircraft Association air show in Oshkosh, WI.  Participants are CAP cadet and senior members who must go though a competitive selection process in order to attend the event.  Participants help conduct event operations, including flight marshaling, crowd control, and emergency services. 

A longstanding tradition of the event is for cadets and seniors to receive their blue beret at the end of the event.  Though the beret is considered to be the most widely known symbol of NBB, it is actually considered by attendees to be less important than the St. Alban's Cross pinned on the beret.  St. Alban, a monk and martyr in medieval times, was put to death for giving a condemned man his cloak. This was a man who was willing to give everything, including his life, for his fellow man.  The crest is in the shape of a shield, representing the mission of the Blue Berets as "protectors" of human life, their strength in adversity, and the military heritage of the organization. A gold cross is superimposed on the dark blue background.