Cadet Aurora Albertson earns Spaatz Award
September 1, 2021 – Granite, MD — On Saturday, August 21 at Watkins Park, Mt. Airy, Cadet Colonel Aurora Albertson was presented the highest award a Civil Air Patrol cadet can achieve, the General Carl A. Spaatz Award, #2307. Captain Daniel Flanick, also a Spaatz awardee, served as the Master of Ceremonies. The presiding officer and award presenter was Colonel Wes LaPre, Commander, Maryland Wing, Civil Air Patrol. Cadet Colonel Albertson also received a Governor’s citation from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. The citation reads in part: Greetings: Be it known: that on behalf of the citizens of this state, in recognition of a well deserved tribute to applaud your selection as recipient of the General Carl A. Spaatz award – Civil Air Patrol’s highest cadet honor… with congratulations on your demonstration of excellence in leadership, character, fitness, and aerospace education; and as our citizens join in expressing our great respect, admiration and best wishes for continued success and achievement in the field of aviation and technology.
Colonel LaPre also presented Cadet Colonel Albertson with his personal challenge coin in recognition of her achievement and in addition, authorized her to present his coin to her mentor and fellow Spaatz awardee, Captain Daniel Flanick.
Cadets qualify for the prestigious Spaatz award after devoting an average of five years to progress through sixteen achievements in the CAP cadet program. Less than 0.5% of cadets achieve the Spaatz award. Cadet Colonel Aurora Albertson achieved the Spaatz award in three and a half years, at the age of 15. The final step a cadet must complete to earn the Spaatz award is a rigorous four-part exam consisting of a challenging physical fitness test, an essay exam testing their moral reasoning, a comprehensive written exam on leadership, and a comprehensive written exam on aerospace education. Upon passing the Spaatz award exams, the cadet is promoted to the grade of Cadet Colonel.
Aurora Albertson has been a cadet in Civil Air Patrol (CAP) for the past four and a half years. She is currently 16 years old, entering her senior year at South Carroll High School and is part of the National Honors Society (NHS). Aurora Albertson plans to apply to the United States Air Force Academy’s class of 2026. In addition to her current AP course schedule, she is studying for her private pilots certificate in gliders through Eastern Soaring Center, as well as pursuing a blackbelt in Budo Taijutsu, practicing for her audition to the Academy of Saint Cecelia’s youth orchestra, taking tennis and golf lessons, and studying for the SATs. Additionally, she is the Cadet Commander of Mount Airy Composite Squadron.
During this period, Aurora Albertson also advanced through the phases of leadership along with the staff positions in the Mount Airy Composite Squadron. Aurora held every rank from a Flight Sergeant to the cadet executive officer, under the leadership of Cadet Colonel Flanick, before eventually assuming the role of Cadet Commander.
Outside of the squadron, Cadet Colonel Albertson participated in many national cadet special activities to gain the most experience from the cadet program. She attended Pennsylvania wing encampment as a Senior Airman in 2017 and regional cadet leadership school in South Dakota later that same year as a Master Sergeant. She attended Hawk Mountain ranger school consecutively in 2018 and 2019, earning her ground team member 3 and 2 along with her ranger 3 and 2 qualifications. The second year she attended the school as a staff member in training and became skills evaluator training (set) qualified a year later. In 2018, cadet Albertson also attended model aircraft and remote-control flight academy in Missouri, soloing in RC aircraft. In 2019 she staffed as flight commander at Wyoming Wing encampment at the age of 14. Additionally, Cadet Colonel Albertson has a student pilots license and over 100 flights in a glider including her solo flight.
Aurora has achieved many awards in Civil Air Patrol including non-commissioned officer of the year in 2017 and officer of the year in 2019 presented by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). She has also obtained her solo wings, ground team badge, rocketry badge, advisory council ribbon, and the squadron academic award.
The Spaatz award is named in honor of Carl “Tooey” Spaatz, the first chief of staff of the United States Air Force. One of the giants in the history of airpower, in 1929 Spaatz, together with another pilot, set an important flight endurance record of 150 hours and 40 minutes in the early days of aviation. During world war II, he commanded the allied air campaign against the nazis. In the pacific theater, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki took place under his command. After retiring from the Air Force, General Spaatz served as the first chairman of the Civil Air Patrol national board. Since 1964, only 2306 other cadets have earned the Spaatz award nation-wide. Cadet Colonel Aurora Albertson is Spaatz award number 2307.
Nearly 1,500 CAP members serve in Maryland. Last year wing members flew 13 search and rescue missions. The wing was credited with four finds. Maryland Wing flew 32 missions for the State of Maryland. Members flew 2,245 hours in all mission categories. Volunteers contributed services estimated at $4.6 million. For more information, contact the Maryland Wing at mdwg.cap.gov or follow the wing on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarylandWingCivilAirPatrol.
Mount Airy Composite Squadron is a composite of both senior and youth programs whose members are drawn from Carroll, Frederick, Howard and Montgomery counties. The Squadron meets Wednesday nights, 7:00 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Izaak Walton League of America, 6642 Woodville Road, Mt Airy Maryland. Have a passion for aviation, dream of flight, cyber defense, are considering a career in the military? Want to serve your community and enhance your leadership skills? Join us. Youths, ages 12 to 18, parents and adults interested in the cadet or senior program are always welcome to drop in. For more information, contact our commanding officer, Captain Laura Smith-Velazquez at LSmith@cap.gov Follow Mt Airy squadron on Facebook at https://goo.gl/wNFmdJ or visit the squadron webpage at https://mountairy.cap.gov.
SM Peter Foiles, Mount Airy Composite Squadron