On January 15, 2014, Cadets Malachi Burns and Samuel Kocen both completed their final requirements to make promotion to cadet officer and earn the General Billy Mitchell Award.
The General Billy Mitchell Award has existed since 1964. This award honors the late General Billy Mitchell, an aviation pioneer, advocate, and staunch supporter of an independent air force for America.
The Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the United States Air Force, has three primary missions: Aerospace Education of the American people, Emergency Services, and the Cadet Program. The Cadet Program provides opportunities for the learning, maturing, accepting, and nurturing of leadership to over 26,000 young Americans from 12 to 20 years of age.
With the advice and assistance from CAP Senior Members and the US Air Force, cadets are exposed to a structured program comprised of aerospace education, leadership, special activities, physical fitness, and moral and ethical values through group and individual activities.
This structured Cadet Program is divided into sixteen segments called achievements, involving study and performance in the five program areas. Upon completion of each achievement, the cadet earns increased responsibility, decorations, awards, eligibility to apply for national special activities, and opportunities for both flight and academic scholarships.
The second milestone of the Cadet Program is the General Billy Mitchell Award, which is earned after the completion of the first eight achievements of the cadet program. In addition, the cadet must pass a comprehensive 100-question examination covering leadership theory and aerospace topics. To further highlight the significance of this accomplishment, as of January 15th, 2014, a total of 63,668 awards have been earned since the Mitchell Award’s inception in 1964.
Being such an important milestone in the CAP Cadet Program, the General Billy Mitchell Award is normally presented by a CAP Group Commander or higher, the wing director of cadet programs, or a state or federal government elected official. Once a cadet earns the General Billy Mitchell Award, he or she is promoted to the grade of Cadet 2d Lieutenant. Any cadet who has received this award, and who later enters CAP’s Senior Member program, is eligible for immediate promotion to CAP 2d Lieutenant at age 21.
Cadets who receive the General Billy Mitchell Award are also eligible for advanced placement to the grade of E-3 (Airman First Class) should they choose to enter the US Air Force. They are also eligible for advanced credit in AFROTC, various CAP scholarships, and CAP special activity opportunities.