Ala. Wing Cadet Joins Spaatz-Earning Elite
Lt. Col. Kim Miller
Redstone Composite Squadron
Cadet Col. Allison Henderson of the Redstone Composite Squadron is the Alabama Wing’s newest recipient of the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award, Civil Air Patrol’s top cadet achievement.
Henderson, the Alabama Wing’s 2020 Cadet of the Year, will soon graduate from Sparkman High School in Madison and will attend the Air Force Academy as part of the class of 2025. She intends to make the Air Force her career as a pilot.Since joining CAP in April 2016, she has attended Encampment, served as an advanced ground search and rescue team leader and served as the Southeast Region Cadet Advisory Council’s primary representative.
She was inducted into the Cadet Honor Society as a member of distinction with honors and was also a Distinguished Graduate of the Alabama Wing Emergency Serves Academy as well as the National Emergency Services Academy.
“Earning the Spaatz award is proof that sticking with the program pays off,” Henderson said. “If you set your mind to something and work to achieve it, you'll get there. Realizing this early on will help you throughout your entire life, and I intend to apply the same mindset everywhere.”
“Have confidence in yourself,” she continued. “Remind yourself that you can do whatever you put your mind to. Remind yourself that you deserve whatever it is that you've achieved, and you have the right to be there.
“Be yourself – never sacrifice your values or who you are for someone else, or to come off like someone you're not. to earn respect. People will respect you for being true to yourself more than they will for putting on a facade.
“Leaders earn respect by treating others with decency, not by being ‘mean’ or ‘scary,’” she said. “Don't let anyone make you believe that you have to pretend to be someone else to be a strong leader.”
Less than one-half of 1 percent of all cadets earn the Spaatz award, which requires devoting an average of five years to progress through 16 achievements in the cadet program. In doing so they develop self-discipline, a strong sense of personal responsibility, the ability to lead and persuade, and the foundation necessary for pursuing a career in aviation, space or technology.
The final step in earning the award is a rigorous four-part exam consisting of a physical fitness test, an essay exam testing moral reasoning and comprehensive written exams on leadership and on aerospace education.
Photos by Capt. Tracy Miller, Alabama Wing