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CAP cadets pass milestones

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By Tris DeRoma

Aug. 28 was a big night for Los Alamos Civil Air Patrol Cadet Juan Romero and his air patrol.
Romero was promoted to 2nd Lt, and he received his Billy Mitchell Award.

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The award marks a civil air patrol cadet’s transition from enlisted rank into the officers ranks, and is considered a turning point in a cadet’s career.

The Los Alamos Civil Air Patrol has had nine cadets achieve the rank in the past five years.

“Only 15 percent of all cadets nationally get this far,” Deputy Commander for Cadets Annette Peters said. “For us to have had this many cadets achieve this milestone speaks volumes about the awesome cadets we have. They are so focused on the cadet program.”

His mother, Army National Guard LT. Col Pia Romero and his father, Ryan,  presented him with his new rank and award as the rest of Romero’s  crew looked on.

“It’s a very proud moment,” Pia said. “He has a lot of discipline and stick-to-it-ness.”

The award was created in 1964, and was named in honor of Army Gen. Billy Mitchell. He is one of the key figures in the formation of the U.S. Air Force, which he advocated heavily for when he became deputy director of the Air Service shortly after World War I.

To earn the award, cadets must successfully complete a series of exams that test their knowledge on aerospace and leadership. They must also complete a rigorous physical fitness test.

Also receiving promotions that night were Cadets Adam Pacheco, Kyle Gentile, Galvin Robles, Malcom Olsen and Roshan Ram Prasad. Pacheco was promoted to Airman First Class, and the others received their Airman rank. On Aug. 7, the Los Alamos Cap had a Change of Command ceremony.

Cadet Commander 2nd Lt. Jack Stafford took command and the flag from outgoing Cadet Commander 2nd Lt. James D. Downing.

Downing and the former Cadet Commander 2nd. Lt. Caleb Britton are leaving the squadron to pursue careers in aviation.

Stafford stated that he had two goals for the cadets.  First is recruitment and retention.  His second goal is pushing the members to achieve higher levels of fitness both mentally and physically.  “I want to keep the goals few and simple,” Stafford said in a press release.