Cadet earns top Civil Air Patrol honor

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  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III presented the General Carl A. Spaatz Award to Cadet Col. Matthew Jackson, a Civil Air Patrol cadet, during a Nov. 9 ceremony at the Pentagon.

“We’re recognizing Matt as he joins an elite group,” Welsh said. “Just 0.2 -- not 2.2 -- percent of Civil Air Patrol cadets earn the Spaatz award.”

The Spaatz award was established in 1964 and is the Civil Air Patrol’s highest cadet honor. Cadets qualify for the award after devoting an average of five years to progress through 16 achievements in the CAP’s cadet program, culminating in a rigorous four-part exam including a physical fitness test, essay exam on moral reasoning, comprehensive written exam on leadership, and a comprehensive written exam on aerospace education.

Upon passing all Spaatz award exams, the cadet is promoted to the rank of cadet colonel. Since its inception, only 2,003 cadets have earned the Spaatz award -- on average, two out of every 1,000.

Jackson serves in the Twin Pine Composite Squadron of the New Jersey Wing, West Trenton, New Jersey.