Chapter 1: A Gathering of Diamonds
Col. Len Blascovich, CAP National Historian
Spaatz Association Lifetime Honorary Member
Episode IV: A New Hope
It was in the early 1990s and I had been forced to sit back and gnash my teeth about what occurred or did not occur for CAP’s 50th Anniversary in 1991. Then, much to my chagrin, I witnessed the same apathy toward the CAP Cadet Program’s 50th year anniversary in October of 1992. Milestones were falling fast….
When Brig Gen Richard Anderson (Spaatz #193) was elected CAP National Commander in August 1993, I felt the winds of change upon us. I first asked about the possibility of celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the “New Cadet Program” (and of the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award) at the 1994 CAP Summer National Board meeting. As a Spaatzen, he was receptive to the idea.
My clinching argument was to see if this gathering could entice some of our former Cadets into supporting the program. Energizing this pool of considerable talent would be a pay-off for the Cadet Program. Pulling this off would be a chore because by now these former Cadets were scattered widely. They had probably completed schooling, developed careers, and founded families.
In GoD We Trusted
In December, 1993 this gathering was approved; now to name the event. Since “diamonds” is a term most associated with Spaatz cadets and we were tying to gather as many as we could a “Gathering of Diamonds” was announced. With the military heavily into acronyms it was called “GoD”; a fitting moniker… [Webmaster’s note: upon publicizing a 5-year anniversary of the original gathering–a second Gathering of Diamonds–this acronym drew fire from some quarters and was largely abandoned.]
I now had the “OK” to proceed on the proposed reunion of Spaatz cadets, and the events to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the “New Cadet Program”. I would run it as the National Project Officer, instead of the paid National Administrator’s Office at HQ CAP.
The Plan of Action
A list of all Spaatz Cadets’ by Name, Award number, Unit & Serial number at the time they received the Spaatz Award would be sent to each Region DCS/Cadet Programs. They would disseminate this to their respective Wing Commanders and Directors of Cadet Programs.
To contact the CAP News and ask them to run a notice about the special event “A Gathering of Diamonds” for publication over the next 6 months
Beating the Bushes
I asked that the Director and Wing Commander’s staff pass this on to the respective units to notify current and known Spaatz Cadets. The plan was to start the “networking” necessary to locate and advise past Spaatz recipients (“Spaatzen”) of the planned reunion.
These Spaatzen were asked to get in touch with my National Project Office for details regarding the reunion. They were also asked to pass their information to Lt Col Larry Trick (Spaatz #452) who established a new database of Spaatz Award winners.
Over the next few months the phone calls, the mail, and the contacts started. Thanks to Colonel Trick my fax machine was spewing out information galore! I soon had sent out about 130 letters. Some of them came back but other Spaatzen called and made reservations to attend the 1994 National Board in New Orleans.
In New Orleans and at the appointed time and place I had my first meeting with Beth Dunn (Spaatz #690). We estimated that, maybe 50 to 60 would show up, but the rest (as they say) was history; 74 Spaatzen showed up!
A preliminary agenda was posted in which the possibility of an Association of Spaatz Award winner was raised. I let the gathering Spaatzen meet but I told them I’d be back in about two hours. “The Spaatz Association” concept was started and I suggested that they contact CAP’s Corporate Legal Counsel Tom Handley to assist.
The rest is our history….
For more information, browse the historical archives from the website, or use the search feature to look for specific terms or people.