Bowie Cadet Earns CAP's Highest Achievement

(Photo credit: Maj. Brenda A. Reed, CAP)
By Brenda Reed
Md. CAP Public Affairs Officer

Civil Air Patrol Cadet Col. John Brennan of Maryland Wing’s Bowie Composite Squadron was recently awarded the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award at the organization’s annual conference. The award is the highest achievement a cadet can earn in the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) cadet program.

Brig. Gen. Richard Anderson, CAP, former national commander of Civil Air Patrol and current Virginia state legislator, presented Brennan the award during the conference awards luncheon.

Anderson, a Spaatz award recipient himself, spoke of Gen. Spaatz, who was the first Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force and first chairman of the CAP national board. Anderson showed a framed historical artifact that included Spaatz’s four-stars and an original note written by Gen. Spaatz.

Brennan joined Civil Air Patrol in 2006 and rapidly progressed through the cadet program at the Bowie squadron. He is a member of the squadron’s ground team and is the former chair of the Maryland Wing Cadet Advisory Council along with serving as vice-chair of the Middle East Region Cadet Advisory Council, a cadet body that advises the commander on cadet program issues. He was named the 2008 Maryland Wing Cadet Jr. Officer of the Year along with numerous squadron and group awards and decorations.

A graduate of the Tri-Wing Encampment, Brennan returned for four years to serve on encampment staff and has been appointed the cadet commander of the 2011 Tri-Wing Encampment. Earlier this year, Brennan won first place in the Maryland Wing Cadet Speak-Off, an annual speech competition, in both the advanced prepared and impromptu categories. Brennan, a graduate of Rockbridge Academy, is currently a freshman at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he received a full scholarship as part of U.S. Air Force ROTC Detachment 330.

Cadets who earn the Spaatz award are required to pass a strenuous four-part examination after completing all 16 achievements in the cadet program - a written leadership exam, a written aerospace exam, a moral leadership essay, and a physical fitness test. Less than one percent of all cadets who enter the cadet program earn the Spaatz Award. Brennan is the 1,765th cadet to be awarded the honor since 1962.

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