Apache Junction cadet wins Billy Mitchell award

Local Civil Air Patrol cadets from Willie Composite Squadron 304 received milestone achievement awards on Thursday, April 30 for their accomplishments in the U.S Air Force Auxiliary. The Billy Mitchell award was given to Cadet Benjamin Starr of Apache Junction.
Cadet Starr received nominations from U.S. Senator Jeff Flake and U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar to U.S. military academies, one of which Starr was recently appointed to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy this past month.
Cadet Starr is a high school senior at Arizona School for the Arts in Phoenix. This year, in addition to his 4.25 GPA, he was the band teacher’s assistant and student body vice president. He accepted an appointment at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York. As an accomplished percussionist and Civil Air Patrol Color Guard, Cadet Starr will be a member of the regiment band at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
“I have valued the leadership training and opportunities that I have had in the Civil Air Patrol and enjoyed overseeing and mentoring the CAP cadets. I am looking forward to becoming an officer and serving my country,” he said.
Fifteen percent of all cadets nationwide have earned the Billy Mitchell award and are promoted to a grade of Cadet 2nd Lieutenant. Cadets must complete comprehensive exams in leadership, aerospace, a cadet physical fitness test and involvement in a Civil Air Patrol Summer Encampment.
Cadets who receive the Billy Mitchell Award are also eligible for advanced placement to the grade of E-3 (airman first class) should they choose to enter the U.S. Air Force. They are also eligible for advanced credit in AFROTC, various CAP scholarships, and CAP special activity opportunities
The Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and has three primary missions: aerospace education, emergency services, and the cadet program. The cadet program provides leadership opportunities for young adults between the ages of 12 and 20 with the advice and assistance from CAP senior members and the U.S. Air Force. Cadets are exposed to a structured program comprised of aerospace education, leadership, special activities, physical fitness, and moral and ethical values through group and individual activities.
Willie Composite Squadron 304 meets every Thursday nights at the U.S. Army Reserve Center, 7334 E Ulysses Ave. in Mesa, near Mesa Gateway Airport. The meeting is open to interested students and their parents. For more information on the program, visit www.squadron304.com.
Editor’s Note: This information was provided by Wendy Cota.

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