Newly-inaugurated President Barack H. Obama congratulated one of the Civil Air Patrol‘s most accomplished cadets during a visit to Capitol Hill on Jan. 27.
Cadet Col. David F. Hill IV and 14 members of West Virginia CAP Wing’s Martinsburg Composite Squadron accompanying him were greeted by the President as they gathered for Cadet Hill’s official Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award presentation. Named for a former Air Force general, the Spaatz award is the Civil Air Patrol’s highest cadet honor.
West Virginia’s Sen. Jay Rockefeller and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito made the official Spaatz presentation in the Capitol, but shortly afterward it was announced that the President wanted to meet the group. West Virginia Wing Chief of Staff Lt. Col. Dennis Barron explained the significance of the Spaatz Award to Obama and introduced Hill and his father to the president, who congratulated Hill on his achievement and praised him for his dedication and commitment to the cadet program. After that, Obama posed for a group photograph with the Martinsburg squadron members.
“Winning the prestigious Spaatz award is one of my greatest accomplishments,” Hill said, “but meeting the president during his first week in office almost makes it pale in comparison.”
The Spaatz award is earned by less than one half of 1% of cadets in the Civil Air Patrol. Hill is only the third cadet in the history of the Martinsburg squadron and the 20th in the West Virginia Wing to earn the award since its inception in 1963, Col. Barron said, and the only CAP cadet in recent memory to receive Spaatz award congratulations from a U.S. president.
Hill, a resident of Shepherdstown, W.Va., has been a member of the Martinsburg Squadron since October 2003. While a member of the CAP cadet program, he has received the Air Force Association Award, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Award, the Community Service Award, Commander’s Commendation, Red Service Ribbon and Unit Citation. He is a senior at Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania. He plans to go to college, attend law school and become a JAG officer in the U.S. Navy.