18:44 PM

Ark. Squadron Gains 1st Spaatz Cadet

Capt. Bradley Kidder
Arkansas Wing

Spaatz recipient

The Arkansas Wing’s Hot Springs-based 40th Composite Squadron has its first recipient of Civil Air Patrol’s top cadet honor – Cadet Col. Sowerbutts.

Sowerbutts received his Spaatz certificate at wing headquarters in Little Rock from the Arkansas Air National Guard chief of staff Brig. Gen. James Paul Rowlett. 

Sowerbutts is scheduled to graduate in October from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. He aims to join the U.S. Air Force Special Warfare team, and if selected he will begin dive school and two years of task-specific coursework.

Once he is in active-duty military service, Sowerbutts said, he wants to give back to CAP. “I will transfer to the senior side. I will stay in the program. I think it would be cool to someday give back to the cadets who will be in the program then,” he said.

“The Spaatz award reflects the determination of a cadet to be the best of the best. Only five in 1,000 cadets make that goal,” said Lt. Col. Charles G. Bishop, Arkansas Wing assistant director of communications, who wing’s first Spaatz cadet in 1973. “We are servant leaders, those who serve the people rather than the people serving us.

“Knowing him and his family over the years, I believe Cadet Col. Sowerbutts shines as a servant leader,” Bishop said.

Proud parents

“The opportunities that Civil Air Patrol afforded my son to grow and become a leader have been outstanding,” said the cadet’s mother, Becky Sowerbutts of Hot Springs National Park. “.We appreciate the opportunity they've given him and the other squadron cadets, to grow up to be leaders and learn how to manage people and manage themselves. It's been a blessing.”

CAP member since September 2013, Sowerbutts participated in wing encampments in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and Kansas and served as his squadron’s cadet commander.

“Sowerbutts has been a pillar in his role as cadet commander, and I appreciate his work,” said Capt. Daryn Wilkin, 40th Composite commander. “I basically handed him the ball and said, ‘Design the program, run with it and make it work.”

Added Capt. Randy Vest, the squadron’s deputy commander for cadets: “I know I set high bars for him throughout the entire process, and he’s met all of them. For the last two years, we’ve been working closely together for encampments. It’s been great to see him grow as a leader and a young man.

“I’m excited for his future. I want to thank him for making us better leaders as well. Working with him has definitely made us better.”

In his honor service, Wilkin and Vest created the annual “Cadet Col. Nicholas Sowerbutts Squadron Cadet of the Year.”