14:23 PM

Idaho Cadet Honored with Top CAP Cadet Award

2nd Lt. Stephanie Payton
Public Affairs Officer
idaho Wing

Cadet Col. Channing Mitson is the first female recipient of Civil Air Patrol’s top cadet honor, the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award, in the history of the Idaho Wing’s Boise Composite Squadron.

Mitson first heard about CAP during the 2011 Gunfighter Skies Airshow in Mountain Home. She had an opportunity to sit in the cockpit of a CAP plane, and from that point on she was hooked. She joined the Boise squadron a day after turning 12.

At the time the new cadet planned to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy and become a fighter pilot and eventually an astronaut. Her goals have since shifted: She’s now focused primarily on graduating from Idaho State University, where she is double-majoring in physics and theater.

Mitson has held a variety of duty positions with here squadron eventually becoming cadet commander in 2020. She also took advantage of such opportunities as attending Region Cadet Leadership School at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and the Blue Beret special activity at Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

“It is so incredible to be the first female in the Boise squadron to achieve this award,” Mitson said. “I have always striven to be the best cadet I can be regardless of my gender.

“But I hope that my hard work and success can be an inspiration to all of the cadets.”

Qualifying for the Spaatz award, earned by less than one-half of 1% of all cadets, requires accomplishing all 16 achievements in the CAP cadet program over five years and completing a four-part exam consisting of a physical fitness test, an essay exam and two comprehensive written exams. The award is named in honor of Gen. Carl "Tooey" Spaatz, first chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force.