South Dakota Wing Cadet Receives Spaatz Award
Cadet Col. Keon den Hoed of the South Dakota Wing’s Sioux Falls Composite Squadron has received the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award — Civil Air Patrol’s highest cadet achievement
Col. Michael Marek, South Dakota Wing commander, presented den Hoed with his award certificate in a ceremony Nov. 2.
Den Hoed joined CAP in June 2018 with the intention of becoming a private pilot after attending a home school conference where the wing had a recruiting booth. He earned his pilot's wings Feb. 7 through CAP's Cadet Wings flight scholarship program. He plans to become a commercial pilot.
“I am honored to have joined the ranks of a prestigious few,” said den Hoen, the 2,484th since the Spaatz award was created in 1964; less than one-half of 1% achieve the honor. “When I joined this amazing program 5½ years ago, I never thought I could receive this promotion.
“In my time in CAP, I have learned that the quote by motivational speaker Zig Ziglar is true: ‘The difference between a big shot and a little shot is a big shot is a little shot that kept shooting.’
“By taking advantage of the opportunities CAP has to offer and taking it one step at a time, anyone with the determination to can achieve what I have,” the newly promoted cadet colonel said.
Den Hoed graduated from home-school high school in May. He is the son of Allen and Teresa den Hoed. Three of his brothers are also Sioux City squadron members.
His accomplishments in Civil Air Patrol include progressively higher squadron leadership roles in the squadron, including cadet commander; and eight encampments in Iowa, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming, as well as Kansas, where he will serve as cadet commander for the upcoming winter encampment.
He has served on wing and North Central Region cadet advisory councils and is now the region’s secondary representative on the national council.
“Cadet Col. Keon den Hoed is a remarkable young man,” said Lt. Col. Tom Anez, South Dakota Wing cadet program director. “I have watched him pursue progressive leadership roles and was pleased to see him succeed by earning such a monumental achievement.
“I look forward to seeing what further opportunities he chases, both in Civil Air Patrol and in our communities.”
Cadets qualify for the Spaatz award after an average of four years progressing through the 16 achievements in the CAP cadet program. Recipients who have demonstrated excellence in leadership, character, fitness, and aerospace education.
The exam for the award consists of a written essay, physical fitness test, and two written tests on leadership and aerospace education.