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General Carl A. Spaatz Award

The General Carl A. Spaatz Award is Civil Air Patrol’s highest cadet honor. It is presented to cadets who have demonstrated excellence in leadership, character, fitness, and aerospace education. On average only one half of one percent of cadets achieve the Spaatz award.  The Spaatz Award is named in honor of Carl “Tooey” Spaatz, the first Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. During World War II, he commanded the Allied air campaign against the Nazis. After retiring from the Air Force, General Spaatz served as the first chairman of the Civil Air Patrol National Board.


Cadet Colonel Marshall Wilkins
receiving the Spaatz Award from the National Commander
Major General Joseph Vasquez
April 2, 2016 

The Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the United States Air Force, has three primary missions: Aerospace Education of the American people, Emergency Services, and the Cadet Program. The Cadet Program provides opportunities for the learning, maturing, accepting, and nurturing of leadership to over 26,000 young Americans from 12 to 20 years of age. With the advice and assistance from CAP Senior Members and the US Air Force, cadets are exposed to a structured program comprised of aerospace education, leadership, special activities, physical fitness, and moral and ethical values through group and individual activities.
This structured Cadet Program is divided into sixteen segments called achievements, involving study and performance in the five program areas. Upon completion of each achievement, the cadet earns increased responsibility, decorations, awards, eligibility to apply for national special activities, and opportunities for both flight and academic scholarships. 

Cadets qualify for the prestigious General Carl A. Spaatz Award after devoting an average of five years to progress through all sixteen achievements in the CAP Cadet Program. The final step a cadet must complete to earn the Spaatz Award is a rigorous four-part exam consisting of a challenging physical fitness test, an essay exam testing their moral reasoning, a comprehensive written exam on leadership, and a comprehensive written exam on aerospace education.  Being the ultimate milestone in the CAP Cadet Program, the General Carl Spaatz Award is normally presented by a CAP Region Commander or higher, or a state or federal government elected official. Upon passing the Spaatz Award exams, the cadet is promoted to the grade of cadet colonel.  Any cadet who has received the Spaatz Award, and who later enters CAP’s Senior Member program, is eligible for immediate promotion to CAP Captain at age 21.