Ga. Wing Cadet Attains Spaatz Award
Capt. Candice Serafin
Public Affairs Officer
Peachtree City Falcon Field Composite Squadron
Cadet Col. Hannah Neal is the first female recipient of Civil Air Patrol’s top cadet honor, the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award, in the history of the Georgia Wing’s Peachtree City Falcon Field Composite Squadron
Neal passed her Spaatz exam July 18 at Dobbins Air Reserve Base. She was promoted to cadet colonel by Maj. Gen. Thomas Carden, adjutant general of the Georgia Department of Defense, and Col. Andrea Van Buren, Southeast Region commander.Also present were Col. Jeffrey Garrett, commander of the Georgia Wing and Maj. Angela Bartow-Best, Peachtree City Falcon Field squadron deputy commander for cadets.
“Cadet Col. Neal stood out early in her CAP career. As I watched her progress through the cadet ranks and achievements, I had no doubt that she would reach the pinnacle of the cadet program, and we are all so proud of her,” said Lt. Col. Joel Seidband, squadron commander.Less than one-half of 1% of all cadets achieve the Spaatz award. “Col. Neal has truly joined an elite fellowship,” Seidband said.
“I am excited to give back to the next generation of cadets and planning to transition to senior member when I turn 21,” Neal said.
“Hannah is an amazing cadet. It has been a pleasure to watch her develop into a true servant leader. I’m so proud of her for obtaining the Spaatz and look forward to seeing her become wing commander someday,” Bartow- Best said
Neal joined CAP in July 2016 at 16 and set her sights on attaining the cadet program’s 21 achievements and five major milestone awards, all of which include exams on aerospace and leadership, participation in character development activities and passing a physical fitness test.
She became the squadron’s cadet commander in April 2019, overseeing more than 130 cadets – one of the largest cadet corps in CAP.
One of her goals was to help the squadron attain not only CAP’s Quality Cadet Unit Award but also all 10 criteria for that distinction. Through careful planning, determination and motivation, the squadron met this goal and was also recognized as a Georgia Wing Squadron of Merit in 2019.
Neal has attended and staffed numerous CAP activities at the squadron, group, wing and national levels. Through various squadron emergency services training offerings, she has attained the Ground Team Leader qualification and is training as a Ground Branch Director – positions not usually held by a cadet.
She served as flight commander and squadron commander at the Florida Wing winter encampment and Georgia Wing summer encampment, respectively, and has been selected to serve as cadet commander of the joint North Carolina-Virginia Wing encampment this year.
Neal also continues to serve as Georgia Wing cadet public affairs officer. She assisted with creating standardization and evaluation videos for the 2019 summer encampment and was the cadet activities director for the wing’s cadet public affairs training day.
At the national level, she attended the Blue Beret special activity at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and Cadet Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
Neal also serves as wing recorder on the Georgia Wing Cadet Advisory Council as Wing Recorder and is Georgia Wing chair, Southeast Region vice chair and Southeast Region cadet representative on the National Cadet Advisory Council. She is also the strategic communications coordinator for the National Cadet Advisory Council.
In addition to her CAP responsibilities, she is focused on pursuing her bachelor’s degree in nursing at a local university. Simultaneously, she was able to complete emergency medical technician training and pass the national registry, enabling her to serve as an EMT. She is working to become a registered nurse in the emergency department of a Level 1 trauma center and eventually become a flight trauma nurse on a helicopter.