Gen Ira C. Eaker Award Position Statement

Posted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:30 pm    Post subject: TSA Position re. the Gen. Ira C. Eaker Award

Gen. Ira C. Eaker Award Position Statement
The Spaatz Association, Inc.

The Board of the Directors, representing nearly 1,700 members of The Spaatz Association, Inc., is concerned about the current status of the Gen. Ira C. Eaker Award (“Eaker Award”) and the impact of this award on the CAP Cadet Program. This Position Statement is an assessment of the situation and our recommendations regarding the status of the Eaker Award.

We feel that this Board and its Action Team is uniquely positioned to make this kind of evaluation. We have all earned the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award. Additionally, given our maturity and success in life, we can provide a valuable and objective hindsight to the situation.

In this paper, we define the situation from our perspective, describe a series of issues and concerns, identify and evaluate a number of options regarding the future of the award, and make a specific recommendation.

Definition Of The Situation

Prior to 1964, the primary achievement of the cadet program was an award called the Certificate of Proficiency. This award was the capstone of the program. Since this award was roughly the equivalent of the Mitchell Award, the whole issue of advanced leadership experience was not a part of the program.

At this time, Jack Sorenson designed a program that he intended to last for a very long time. The primary emphasis of this program was to enable extensive leadership experiences and rewards. The goal of these leadership experiences was to encourage cadets to grow into leaders of the aerospace community in general, and not necessarily to encourage or ease promotion into the senior ranks of the CAP. This goal was obtained through a series of objective criteria that led to awards for substantial achievement in the leadership of cadets and for leadership achievements in the general aerospace community.

Admittedly, everything can be improved. The current cadet program as defined in CAPR 52-16 is an extension and detailed clarification of the original program as designed by Jack Sorenson. The current program consists of a series of achievements and exams that lead to “milestone” awards. Each milestone award after the Mitchell Award is considered recognition for substantial accomplishments in the field of cadet leadership. The current milestone awards are the Wright Brothers Award, the Mitchell Award, the Earhart Award, the Eaker Award, and the Spaatz Award.

The original program designed by Jack Sorenson deliberately did not include the Eaker Award. This award was introduced many years later after the original program. The primary requirements for the award include the following:

• essay and speech assignments graded by a local senior member; and,
• attendance at one of many leadership academies.

Since effective leadership requires the ability to write and speak clearly, a formal requirement seems like a really good idea. Additionally, training at the command level of leadership and management is usually an effective requirement.

Issues And Concerns

The first concern that we see regarding the Eaker Award is that the requirements are not sufficiently rigorous and objective to justify a full “milestone” award status. All of the other milestone awards require rigorous testing that is defined, controlled, and graded by the national headquarters. A score is awarded and a minimum passing grade is required to obtain the award.

The two primary requirements for the Eaker Award do not have rigorous passing requirements. While some criteria are identified in CAPR 52-16, these criteria are extremely subjective. By leaving the grading to a local senior officer, a passing score can easily be justified on any speeches and papers that are presented by the award candidate. As far as the schools are concerned, everyone who attends usually passes. Since every eligible candidate passes the requirements and qualifies, the award does not appear to act as a filter to qualify superior candidates for the award.

CAPR 52-16 clearly states that the Eaker Award is awarded for the completion of Phase IV of the cadet program. Using this same logic, awards would be placed before the Mitchell and Earhart Awards, to mark completion of Phases 2 and 3. We are concerned that this minimizes the value of the Spaatz Award, given the ease with which an individual can obtain the Eaker Award. Many of us have heard Spaatz candidates give up their pursuit of the Spaatz Award, stating that they are satisfied with the Eaker.

Since the goal of the advanced phases of the cadet program is to reward leadership and initiative, we are very concerned about the de-motivating effects that the Eaker Award appears to impart on many cadets.

The Spaatz Award encourages achieving the goal of excellence, even giving Cadets the opportunity to re-test multiple times, if necessary. Our concern is that the Eaker Award has positioned cadets to embrace the acceptance of defeat in the face of a difficult obstacle (the Spaatz Exam), then to give up and to settle comfortably for something less than the intended goal — a true capstone award. The Eaker Award directly conflicts with the achievement of excellence that is the primary goal of the rest of the milestone award structure of the Cadet Program.

Another concern that we have is the consideration of senior CAP rank incentives that could accrue to a holder of the Eaker Award. At the current time, additional senior rank incentives do not accrue to holders of the Eaker Award. We are hearing that consideration is being given to promotion incentives equivalent to those of the Spaatz Award. If adopted, this incentive would further marginalize the value of the Spaatz Award and would contribute to cadets stopping their achievements with the Eaker Award.

Options To Consider

A number of options are available to consider regarding the future of the Eaker Award.

1. Leave the Eaker Award as is

If this award remains part of the program, then every cadet who advances towards the Spaatz Award will have demonstrated speaking and writing abilities and will have attended a leadership school.

However, the number of Spaatz Awards earned will be adversely impacted, due to the de-motivating effect of this Award. If the number of Spaatz Awards earned goes down due to the high quality of its standards, then a reduced number may be acceptable, because the high standards are causing the reduction. However, if the number of Spaatz Awards is reduced because a default award exists, this diminishes the quality of the overall program.

2. Remove the Award completely

Removing the award would certainly remove the problems and issues associated with the award. However, the demonstration of speaking and writing skills, and the benefits of the leadership training would fall by the wayside.

3. Remove the Award completely; but retain desirable components

Incorporate the Eaker Award requirements for inter-personal communications and formal leadership training into the existing achievements 13-15

This approach would retain the speaking, writing, and training requirements. By incorporating these requirements to existing achievements, the de-motivating factor is removed. Moreover, the issue of having less rigorous requirements would be eliminated, as all achievements have some requirements that are objectively evaluated.


As a result of this review, we feel that the Eaker Award fails to live up to the standards associated with a milestone award. The Eaker Award appears to be similar in concept to the Falcon Award, which was discontinued for similar reasons.

Given the issues and evaluations above, we strongly urge the Civil Air Patrol to terminate the Eaker Award at a cutoff date in late 2007 and to incorporate its requirements into existing Phase IV achievements that are required for completion of Phase IV and the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award.

Since we feel that the writing and leadership requirements should be retained in the form of achievements, we would like to take this opportunity to suggest some additional improvements in these requirements. The goals of these improvements are to add objectivity and rigor to the evaluation process and to involve National Headquarters in the role of quality assurance.

We agree that the writing requirements should still be evaluated at the local level. However, we strongly urge that both the written submission and the evaluation should be forwarded to National Headquarters and should maintained in the permanent records of the candidate cadet.

Further, we feel that each cadet attending a command school should be assessed using a detailed written evaluation by the senior members who operate the command school. This evaluation should result in a numerical score calculated by the accumulation of numerical ratings applied to each of several areas of evaluation. A minimum numerical score should be required to pass the school. A copy of the cadet evaluation with a score above the minimum should be should be submitted with the Spaatz Award application and maintained with the cadet’s records at National Headquarters.

Additionally, some standards should be generated to insure that the numerical evaluations do not become inflated. A typical approach is to set percentages that may be assigned various numerical scores and to require the senior members operating the command school to submit proof that these percentages have been maintained.

Since an extensive effort would be necessary to generate a numerical evaluation process from scratch, we recommend that the US Air Force Officer Effectiveness form be utilized as the basis of a numerical evaluation form. This approach would have the added benefit of introducing cadet leaders to the evaluation process that will be employed should they decide to pursue a commission in the US Air Force.

These approaches would maintain the requirements, since they appear to be justified, would remove the de-motivating impact of the Eaker Award, would add more objective and measurable criteria for satisfying the requirements, and would re-establish the value of the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award as the ultimate award in the CAP Cadet Program.

The Spaatz Association

The Spaatz Association, Inc is a volunteer membership organization of present and former CAP Cadets who have achieved the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award. We are uniquely qualified to observe and comment on the value of the Spaatz Award. We earned the award, and many have gone on to be successful in life. We know the value and impact that earning the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz award can have on young people and their futures.

Our primary goals are as follows:
• Promote and maintain the prestige of the General Carl A. Spaatz Award.
• Support and preserve the high standards of achievement required to attain the General Carl A. Spaatz Award.
• Provide an entity to harness the collective energy, enthusiasm, experience, and talent of the General Carl A. Spaatz Award recipients to assist in making the CAP Cadet Program the finest youth development program in America.
• Promote the development of positive personal characteristics, to include leadership, professionalism, integrity, and perseverance in America’s youth.

Respectfully Submitted,

Milestone Award Action Team

Bruce Krell, Spaatz #44 – Team Leader

Marla Patterson, Spaatz #101, Michael A. Murphy, Spaatz #115
Austyn Granville, Spaatz #579,

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  1. William Sirman - Nov 10, 2013

    I was a Civil Air Patrol Cadet from 1971-1978, and a Senior Member until 1985. I always felt that something should be awarded for the completion of the Cadet Programs then 15 achievements, and the attainment of the grade of Cadet C/LTC.
    There was nothing to commemorate this final Achievement; the last award (The Earhart), being given for Cadet Captain.
    We in (Our Squadron) Delaware Wing, had five Cadet LTC’s at one time; the Program was very active back then. I have since met cadets, who have been in Civil Air Patrol for quite some time, and who haven’t even met a Cadet Officer! In my day, we were very competitive: Politics played a big roll in regards to who pursued the “Spaatz,” and “Wing Testing Officers,: were, well… “Wing Testing Officers!”
    Quite frankly… Quite a few Sub-Standard “Spaatzis!” Snuck through the cracks back then, because they were from the right squadrons!

    Delaware was divided into two parts, above, and below, the canal… Even though we produced several Future U.S. Military Officers, and Academy Graduates… We the people from “Slower Delaware,” (Then) never produced a single “Spaatz” Cadet!

    Whereas… The upper part of the State did so in droves!

    The “Eaker Award,” should be given, simply for the completion of the regular cadet program. To give some honor, and designation, to someone who has achieved the rank of Cadet LTC! To distinguish them from someone who merely obtained the rank of C/CPT.

    It also gives more credence to the “Spaatz Award,” because… It (The Spaatz) is over, and above the regular requirements of the cadet program. The Eaker, also will benefit older cadets as well, who simply run out of time!

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