2009 CAP Awards Banquet

(above) Daniel, Nehemiah, and Joseph at the Civil Air Patrol Awards Banquet.

Though the air outside was crisp and cold, the atmosphere inside the building was one of warmth and cheer. As the many families which make up Gainesville Composite Squadron gradually assembled at the various tables in the large hall, the 2009 GCS Awards Banquet began.

The guest speaker was Maj. Craig Heitzler, USAF. He spoke to the cadets about his varied experiences with ROTC, and about what it means to succeed. He earnestly stressed the importance of having a career objective, and working towards that goal with the fullest of strength. In his closing statements, he reminded everyone that we must remember the veterans who have preserved America’s freedoms, because without them, we would not be here.

There were distinguished guests at the banquet, which included Col. Phil Newman, and Col. Ramon Waldrop, who were both US Army Air Corps Ret. WWII bomber pilots. Both men gladly shared their stories with the many cadets who met them, and helped present a few awards.

A small table, set for one, with an empty seat sat prominently in the front of the room. It was set with many symbolic items—but its purpose was to remind us that many soldiers never returned from battle. Numerous soldiers are listed as Missing in Action, or Prisoners of War. They must be remembered for the bravery they showed, honored for their sacrifices, and their legacy forever enshrined in the memory of every American who enjoys the simple, yet extremely significant freedoms in the USA.

There were many awards for deserving cadets and senior members. One of the most significant awards was the 100% attendance award, presented to C/Maj. Timothy Lhota, and his father 1LT Rich Lhota. They have attended 100% of meetings and special activities for 2009, and have both received this award for the past three years! The night was filled with promotions and awards. Six Cadet Airmen/NCOs and one Cadet Officer were promoted that night. (See list below for promotions/awards)

Gainesville Composite Squadron is like none other. The siblings, friends, family, and cadets make a squadron one that will never be forgotten, because of the leaders that are made, and the memories created. Every year is a new opportunity, and with an effort of teamwork, our squadron will once again succeed in reaching new heights.

Both Daniel and Joseph were promoted at the banquet. Daniel was promoted to Cadet Major, and Joseph was promoted to Cadet Master Sergeant. Joseph also received the “Squadron NCO of the year”. (NCO means: “non commissioned officer”) Our whole family was able to attend!

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