The Naming of an Award

Jack Sorenson, c. 1975

While digging through the TSA Archives in response to a query on the Frank Borman Falcon Award, TSA President Steve Austen ran across a letter he had recieved in 1998 from John V. “Jack” Sorenson.  An Army Air Corps World War II veteran and longtime employee of the Civil Air Patrol, Sorenson is considered by many to be the “father” and chief architect of the modern-day CAP cadet program.  This letter describes the evolution of the Cadet Program and the selection of General Carl A. Spaatz as the namesake for the program’s Phase III (now Phase IV) award.  An excerpt is provided below…

The Naming of an Award

I cannot end this without a comment about the Spaatz Cadets.

I personally selected “Spaatz” as the name of the award.

One night long ago, General Spaatz walked into my classroom at Weber County High School, Ogden, Utah, and witnessed an event presented by the cadets in my CAP Squadron.  Brien Dale Ward was the Cadet Commander and Quarteback/Captain of the football team I coached.  Two hundred forty cadets led by Ward (who became a Major General in the United States Air Force) displayed how a CAP Cadet Squadron enrolled (to the last person) in an elective aerospace course for credit could work.  They demonstrated they could learn the lessons of aerospace power, master the regimen of the uniform and implement the disciplines of leadership. Spaatz was impressed, which was not an easy task.  Spaatz told Major General Lucas V. Beau, USAF, National Commander CAP, that this high school condition was to be repeated, if possible, in every high school in America.  Shortly thereafter, the CAP Coordinated High School Aerospace Education Course program commenced.

I (have) watched them all (Spaatz Cadets) from the magnificent Doug Roach, to the last recipient before I left the Headquarters in retirement.  I can honestly say that the Spaatz Cadet is the finest, brightest, and best representative that America can possibly deliver. I’ll stack them up individually or collectively against any and all programs or people, foreign or domestic.  Spaatz Cadets are truly the  nonpareil–a class unto themselves. I’m simply humbled by what they are, (what they) have become, and (what they) represent.

To make this epistle longer would infringe upon our associative CAP membership, so I will close by telling you that to know and work with the CAP Cadets that achieved the Spaatz Award is, and will remain, the greatest award I have been allowed.

God Bless you all,

John V. “Jack” Sorenson

About the author: Mike Hower

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