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Sun, May 14, 2006

CAP Cadet Earns Spaatz Award

A 16-year-old Civil Air Patrol cadet received the highest CAP cadet honor from the Air Force chief of staff during a Pentagon ceremony, May 11.

Recognizing Cadet Col. Katrina Litchford with the General Carl. A. Spaatz Award, Gen. T. Michael Moseley said, “I am pleased to be able to present this certificate with General Spaatz’s name on it to the top cadet of the Civil Air Patrol.”

Cadet Litchford earned the award for more than three and a half years of CAP service and for demonstrating excellence in leadership, character, fitness and aerospace education. Only about two in every 1,000 cadets ever receive the award, which is comparable to the Gold Star award in the Girl Scouts. The award is named after the first chief of staff of the Air Force, who became the first CAP chairman after he retired from active duty.

“It’s a great honor to be (at the Pentagon),” she said. Her family traveled from Roanoke, Va., to support the home-schooled freshman. As General Moseley pointed out, it’s a family rich in Air Force heritage.

“We have Katrina’s sister -- a fellow CAP cadet -- here along with her grandfather, who flew B-17s with the 305th (Bomb Group) in the United Kingdom under the command of General Spaatz,” he said. “It doesn’t get better than that.” The cadet's mother said she’s been amazed by the response the family has received since her daughter earned the award.

“General Moseley really made us so comfortable here,” said Leonetta Litchford.

"I have to say, this whole time, doors (of opportunity) have been thrown open, doors you normally couldn’t open with a pry bar.” For now, Cadet Litchford said she’s focusing on school and staying active in sports and karate to keep up with the Air Force’s fitness standards. Her aspirations include studying physics and physiology.

“The Air Force Academy is definitely a consideration for my future,” she said.

General Moseley agreed that’s a good plan. At the end of the ceremony, he presented the cadet with an Air Force book, in which he inscribed, “Come on in -- we’re waiting for you.” [ANN Salutes Staff Sgt. Julie Weckerlein, AFNS]

FMI: www.cap.gov, www.af.mil

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