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Squadron Members Recognized at Annual Banquet

posted Nov 16, 2011, 6:08 PM by William McCombie   [ updated Nov 16, 2011, 6:09 PM ]
On the night of October 28, 2011, the Gainesville Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol held its annual awards banquet to recognize its members for their performance over the last year.

As the official civilian auxiliary to the United States Air Force, the Civil Air Patrol follows many of the traditions and customs of the United States Air Force, which was demonstrated at the event as middle and high school students in the cadet program marched in in Air Force service dress uniforms.

Prior to the meal, the color guard team posted the colors (placed the United States and squadron flags at the front of the room), the national anthem was played, and Cadet Caleb Eades, directed attention towards a vacant table with seating for one in the corner of the room, representing a missing soldier. Retired US Navy Lt. Commander James Kline, gave a presentation on some of the work he did for NASA and other agencies and congressman Cliff Stearns gave recognition to the squadron.

Two cadets received special recognition during the banquet. The first was Tiffany Jakowczuk, who recently became the 1814th cadet in Civil Air Patrol to achieve the Spaatz award since the first was given in 1964. According to Jakowczuk “This award represents the highest level of achievement in the cadet program”. Achieving the award requires approval from the Florida Wing commander and taking a test administered by an Air Force representative or liaison. The test includes four parts: a 60 question leadership test, a 60 question aerospace test, an essay on a topic relating to character, and the cadet physical fitness test (CPFT). The cadet must pass all four portions of the test to earn the Spaatz and has three attempts to do so. “I passed it on the first try, which is not a very common occurrence”, mentioned Jakowczuk. Jakowczuk has been in Civil Air Patrol five years and has participated in many activities, including achieving Florida Wing Cadet of the Year at the Cadet Special Activities Selection competition at Patrick Air Force Base at the beginning of the year, and spent two weeks in Japan last summer as part of the International Air Cadet Exchange program. She is also the chair of the Florida Wind Cadet Advisory Council and has worked to organize activities for the Florida CAP cadets, including the annual Wing Conference in Orlando and the Ultimate Cadet Challenge at Camp Blanding.

The second cadet recognized was Tyler Gwynn, who recently performed his first solo flight in a fixed wing aircraft. The flight, which was performed at Gainesville Regional Airport in a Cessna 152 plane, consisted of three take-off and landings in the traffic pattern while remaining in radio contact with the control tower and the instructor. A solo flight demonstrates a student pilot’s ability to take off, fly, and most importantly, land the plane with an instructor on board.  “When I first took off, I thought ‘Well, no matter how I get back on the ground, I’ve soloed’”. Gwynn was also recognized with the Air Force Association Outstanding Cadet award.

Other cadets were also recognized that evening. Cadet Hannah Eades was awarded Squadron Cadet of the Year. David Cook, Isaac Redmond, and Andrew Geelhoed achieved Cadet Officer of the Year, NCO (non-commissioned officer) of the Year, and Airman of the Year, respectively. The Motivated Warrior (MOWA) award went to Stephanie Redmond, while Noah Parker was named Most Improved Cadet and Noah Wright achieved the High Speed Basic award.

The Gainesville Composite Squadron presently meets Thursdays at 7 p.m. at the Southwest United Baptist Church at 2400 SW Williston Road.

William McCombie,
Nov 16, 2011, 6:08 PM