WAAF Civil Air Patrol cadet earns prestigious Spaatz award

| September 8, 2017 | 0 Comments

Cadet Col. Andrew Gomes recites the Cadet Oath, administered by United States Air Force Colonel Robert Licciardi. Photo by Captain Jen Herrington, Hawaii Wing Civil Air Patrol Director of Public Affairs. (Photos by Capt. Jennifer Herrington)

Capt. Jennifer Herrington
U.S. Air Force Auxiliary
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Andrew Gomes of Kapolei was presented the Civil Air Patrol’s highest cadet honor in a ceremony, held here, Aug. 30.

The 17-year-old cadet is the 14th in Hawaii’s history to receive the prestigious General Carl A. Spaatz Award, having demonstrated excellence in all aspects of cadet life: leadership, character, fitness and aerospace education.

Only five cadets in a thousand earn the Spaatz award. Only 2,125 cadets, including Cadet Colonel Gomes, have been presented the award throughout the nation since the award’s inception in 1964.

Cadet Gomes is a member of Wheeler Composite Squadron, where he serves as cadet adviser.

The Hawaii Wing of the Civil Air Patrol consists of 10 squadrons located across the island chain. Cadets from these squadrons serve not only at the local squadron level, but also at the higher wing level.

Qualified as a solo pilot of powered aircraft through the Civil Air Patrol, Cadet Gomes is also a member of the Marine Corps JROTC unit at Kapolei High School, where he serves as company executive officer.

Spaatz Award
To be eligible for the Spaatz Award, cadets spend an average of five years working their way through 16 levels of achievement within the cadet program. Self-discipline, a strong sense of personal responsibility, the ability to lead and the foundation required for pursuing aviation, space and technology careers are developed through the cadet program.

The Gomes Family (left to right): Andrew’s sister, Ashley; father retired Army Lt Col. Jim Gomes; Civil Air Patrol Cadet Col. Andrew Gomes; and mother, Michele Gomes.

Earning the Spaatz award requires passing a rigorous four-part exam testing fitness, moral reasoning, leadership knowledge and aerospace education. Those who pass are promoted to the grade of cadet colonel.

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 80 lives annually.

CAP’s 57,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. CAP also plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to 24,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs.
(Editor’s note: Herrington is the Hawaii Wing director of Public Affairs.)

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For more details, visit www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com.

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