Spaatz Association Gathers Aerospace Leaders and Pioneers in Support of the CAP Cadet Program

By 1st Lt Duane L. Johnson, CAP and Capt Amanda Folberg, CAP.    Photographs by C/SMSgt Benjamin Geiss, CAP.

The Spaatz Association’s 12th Annual Mid-Winter Dinner and Awards Gala was held on March 1st, 2014, at the Crystal City Gateway Marriott hotel in Northern Virginia.  This year’s event, attended by more than 125 Spaatz Award recipients, Civil Air Patrol members, service men and women, and distinguished guests was a truly spectacular event celebrating 50 Years of the General Carl A. Spaatz Award and the modern day Cadet Program.

The dinner was the highlight of a weeklong series of CAP events held in our nation’s capital, which included the National Command Council Mid-Year meeting, the National Cadet Advisory Council meeting, and the Civic Leadership Academy.

The event was hosted by Lieutenant General (Ret.) Ted Bowlds,  Spaatz Association National President, and featured keynote speaker, Lieutenant General Judith Fedder, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Installations, and Mission Support at Headquarters, United States Air Force.  Attendees were also treated to an exciting presentation by Ms. DeDe Laver, General Spaatz’s granddaughter, who spoke of her grandfather and examples of his leadership.  Other Spaatz family members who participated in the event were Mr. Carl Spaatz-Thomas, grandson of General Spaatz, and Ms. Rebecca Gresham.  Also in attendance was aviation pioneer Mary Feik, namesake of third achievement award in the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program.

General Fedder presented the attendees with an introduction to the current challenges that face the Air Force, the CAP, our nation, and our youth in the coming decade.  She also expressed her support and admiration for CAP and how its volunteers come together to enable the organization to not only perform missions for America, but develop our youth for tomorrow.  She remarked that was “inspired not just by the cadets, but also by the commitment of the Spaatz [Association] members to continue to serve Civil Air Patrol.”  Following General Fedder’s talk, Ms. Laver provided a provided a rare and insightful look into General Spaatz’s leadership style and family history.

To help honor the 50th anniversary of the Spaatz Award, CAP historians provided a rate display that showcased uniforms, insignia, and documents from throughout the years.  Major Jacob Gerstein, CAP’s National Curator, and 1st Lt Colleen McCormick were on hand to discuss CAP history and the evolution of the CAP Cadet Program.

Above: Kenneth Kelly, Brig Gen Joseph Vazquez, and Lt Gen Fedder, present Capt Eashan Samak the Spaatz Award certificate.
Above: Kenneth Kelly, Brig Gen Joseph Vazquez, and Lt Gen Fedder, present Capt Eashan Samak the Spaatz Award certificate.

Six Aerospace Leadership Scholarships and four Leadership Grants were awarded to deserving individuals and units.  In addition, Capt Eashan Samak of the Maryland Wing and C/Col Ulric Groves of the Virginia Wing received their Spaatz Awards from Lieutenant General Fedder, and National Vice Commander, Brigadier General Joseph Vazquez, CAP.  Mr.  Kenneth Kelly, the second Spaatz Award recipient, was on-hand for the awards and presented each cadet with a silver commemorative Spaatz coin.

The evening came to a close with the National Capital Wing Color Guard retiring the colors.  C/Col John Robertson, Aerospace Leadership Scholarship recipient, made this comment, “It was an incredible night.  It was great to meet the Spaatz Association members and see their passion to give back to the Civil Air Patrol program.”  Ms. Laver expressed her appreciation for the evening, “I have had a wonderful and great experience through the years at the annual Spaatz dinner.”

The next Spaatz Association Mid-Winter Dinner and Awards Gala is scheduled for March 2015, in conjunction with the 2015 CAP Command Council Mid-Year Meeting.  For more information, visit www.spaatz.org.

Pictured above are the recipients of the Gen Carl A. Spaatz Award that attended this year’s dinner.
Pictured above are the recipients of the Gen Carl A. Spaatz Award that attended this year’s dinner.

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