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14:17 PM

Texas Wing Cadet Headed to Coast Guard Academy

Cadet Capt. Katherine Jenkins of the Texas Wing’s Pegasus Composite Squadron missed part of her high school softball season, prom and even the class of 2020’s graduation because of COVID-19.

One thing she isn’t missing, though, is the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream.

On July 3, Jenkins leaves for New London, Connecticut after being accepted in the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

“I am extremely excited, and a little nervous, to start on this next chapter in my life,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins joined Civil Air Patrol in September 2017 and rose up the ranks quickly, becoming heavily involved in the Austin-based Pegasus squadron’s activities, holding such key leadership positions as first sergeant and serving on the unit’s drill team. She leaves as the deputy cadet commander.

“She is the type of officer we want in the military of tomorrow,” said Maj. Dennis A. Eibe, the squadron's deputy commander. “She leads by example, and those that follow clearly show that they trust her leadership and decision-making abilities.”

Jenkins originally had her eyes set on flying for the U.S. Navy, and she was accepted to the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, but had a change of heart.

“The Naval Academy was my first choice, but I realized that I would much rather be in the Coast Guard saving lives … which is why I changed my mind,” Jenkins said. She hopes to fly helicopters for the Coast Guard after graduation.

“She will become a truly outstanding USCG officer and helicopter pilot,” Eibe said.

Jenkins said she plans to stay in CAP once she completes the academy, which has a 19% acceptance rate.