12:30 PM

Tenn. Cadet Honored with Spaatz Award

Lt. Col. Kevin Divers
Public Affairs Officer
Music City Composite Squadron
Tennessee Wing

Spaatz recipient

Cadet Col. David R. Johnson of the Tennessee Wing’s Music City Composite Squadron has earned Civil Air Patrol’s top cadet honor, the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award.

Presenting the award was U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. James A. Hecker, commander and president of Air University.

The Spaatz award is CAP’s highest cadet honor, achieved by less than one-half of 1% of all cadets. It is presented to cadets who have demonstrated excellence in leadership, character, fitness and aerospace education.

Cadet Col. Johnson epitomizes all the tenets of the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award,” Hecker said. “His demonstrated excellence in his Civil Air Patrol duties and his academic achievements have led to him receiving an appointment to the Air Force Academy, a great accomplishment in its own right.

Air University commander

“I wish him all the best at the academy, and I’m sure he will contribute greatly to the U.S. Air Force.”

Hecker also noted that Johnson was awarded a CAP Cadet Wings scholarship that led to his earning a private pilot’s certificate, his first step toward his dream of becoming an Air Force pilot.

“My motivation to become a Spaatz cadet came from three primary sources,” Johnson said.

“First, becoming a pilot in the Air Force has been one my long-term goals for over a decade,” he said. “Civil Air Patrol, and reaching its highest rank, became a logical early step toward achieving this.

“Second, one of the best coaches I have ever had made a mantra of ‘If you work hard, good things will happen.’ Although sounding cliché, this simple statement has thoroughly rung true; once committing to CAP, I knew that I needed to put in the work to fulfill both the Cadet Oath and the core value of excellence.

“Third, hearing the successes of current and former cadets and senior members within our squadron kept me motivated when other factors tried to pull me away from CAP. I saw the success in their experiences and hope to replicate their accomplishments, using their lessons and stories to help carry me up. The mentors at our squadron have taught me how to overcome obstacles and have set me up for lifelong achievement, for which I cannot thank them enough,” Johnson concluded.

Hecker presented Johnson’s Spaatz award after flying to John C. Tune Airport in Nashville in a CAP aircraft that he and other Air Force members at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, use to maintain their flying currency.

Air University is the intellectual and leadership center of the Air Force, which provides full-spectrum education, research and outreach at every level through professional military education, professional continuing education and academic degree granting. He is also responsible for officer commissioning through Officer Training School and the Reserve Officer Training Corps.