11:49 AM

'Learning Never Ends,' National Commander Tells New Spaatz Cadet

Job well done

skyhawks_logo_CAP_transparent_32679B9B06F29Cadet Col. Zurich Begin is the Ohio Wing’s newest recipient of the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award, Civil Air Patrol’s top cadet honor, after a presentation by one of his Spaatz-achieving predecessors— Maj. Gen. Edward D. Phelka, CAP national commander.

Begin, who joined CAP in April 2019 at age 12, is cadet commander of the Medina County Skyhawks Composite Squadron and also serves at the wing level, helping plan and direct activities for his nearly 500 fellow cadets in Ohio.  He was recently recognized as the Ohio Wing’s 2022 Cadet of the Year.

“Never give up on your dreams,” Begin told the cadets present for the award ceremony. "It's not difficult; it just takes effort." 

Phelka flew a CAP aircraft into Medina Municipal Airport for the presentation. He held a question-and-answer session afterward with Begin and the other cadets.

"Remember that this award is not being finished with the cadet program," he told Begin. "Learning never ends."

Phelka received the Spaatz award in 1993 as a Michigan Wing cadet.

spaatzawardBegin, who carries a 4.5 GPA at Medina High School, is preparing to graduate two years earlier than previously anticipated. He plans to study architecture at Kent State University starting this fall.

Less than one-half of 1% of CAP cadets achieve the Spaatz award. Cadets qualify for the honor after an average of four years progressing through the 16 achievements in the CAP cadet program. The  award goes to cadets who have demonstrated excellence in leadership, character, fitness, and aerospace education.