Vermont CAP’s Rutland Composite Squadron Names New Cadet Commander

The Vermont Wing of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) has awarded the prestigious Billy Mitchell Award Cadet/2nd Lt Trevor MacKay. The award was conferred by Col Richard Beach, Commander of the Vermont Wing. Cadet MacKay was also promoted to Cadet Commander of the Squadron.

Shown are Cadet/2dLt Trevor MacKay (left) and Colonel Richard Beach, Commander of the Vermont Wing of the Civil Air Patrol.  C/2dLt MacKay was recently awarded the prestigious Billy Mitchell Award, and accepted the role of Cadet Commander at a recent ceremony at the headquarters of the Rutland Composite Squadron of the Vermont Wing of CAP. The squadron is located at Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport, N. Clarendon, VT.

Only 15 percent of CAP cadets nationwide earn the Mitchell Award. This Award honors the late General Billy Mitchell, an aviation pioneer, advocate, and staunch supporter of an independent air force for America. The Award is an important milestone of the Cadet Program in CAP and is earned after completion of eight achievements (e.g., physical fitness, character development, and other training). Cadets must also pass a comprehensive 100-question examination covering leadership theory and aerospace topics.

“C/2nd Lt MacKay has distinguished himself as a role model for all Vermont Wing cadets. His accomplishments and commitment reflect well on his family, his peers, the State, and his Rutland Composite Squadron leadership,” said Col Beach.

 The Brigadier General Billy Mitchell Award

The Brigadier General Billy Mitchell Award honors a fearless pilot whose patriotism, foresight, and tenacity surpassed the ridicule he faced. The “Father of the Independent Air Force,” Billy Mitchell led an aerial bombing demonstration resulting in the sinking of the surplus German battleship Ostfriesland in 1921. The Navy had said such a feat would be impossible, and the Army remained skeptical toward airpower. With General Mitchell as their role model, cadet officers know that speaking truth to power is a moral duty. The Mitchell Award marks completion of Phase II of the CAP Cadet Program, recognizing sustained excellence in all four areas of cadet life: leadership, aerospace subjects, fitness, and character.

Further, Mitchell cadets must have passed comprehensive examinations on leadership and aerospace topics and have completed a weeklong encampment immersing them in a challenging “Core Values” and STEM courses. The U.S. Air Force respects Mitchell Award recipients’ accomplishments: Mitchell cadets who enlist in the Air Force enter the service at the advanced grade of E-3, Airman First Class. The USAF also looks favorably upon Mitchell cadets when evaluating AFROTC and Air Force Academy applicants.

As Cadet Commander, C/2nd Lt MacKay has been awarded the highest challenge for a cadet officer. He will serve as a role model for other cadets in the squadron, and liaise between senior officers and cadet staff. 

C/2nd Lt MacKay joined the Vermont Wing in 2016 and attended summer encampment at Norwich University. While there, he served as First Sergeant.  MacKay will be attending Yale University in the fall. 

The award ceremony was recently held at the squadron’s headquarters at Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport in North Clarendon, VT, and was attended by squadron members and family.  The ceremony itself is a time-honored tradition within the organization: The unit guidon (flag) is passed from the outgoing commander to the new one symbolizing the passing of responsibility.  Outgoing cadet commander, C/2nd Lt Josiah Burke, is serving overseas in the Army National Guard and could not be present for the ceremony.