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Squadron History

The Solomon Van Meter, Jr. Cadet Squadron was chartered by Civil Air Patrol in February, 2008. Below is some of our history such as former Squadron Commanders and previous awards achieved by our members.

Squadron Commanders

1stLt Will von Brandenburg: August 2020 - Present
Capt Eddie Walter: May 2019 - August 2020
Capt Sean Damron: Mar 2016 - May 2019
Maj Ronnie Hatton: Feb 2011 - Mar 2016
Maj Debbie Burke: Feb 2008 - Feb 2011

Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Awards

The General Carl A. Spaatz Award is Civil Air Patrol’s highest cadet honor.  It is presented to cadets who have demonstrated excellence in leadership, character, fitness, and aerospace education. As of January of 2019, fewer than 2,500 cadets have earned The Spaatz Award since our founding in 1941.

Cadets qualify for this prestigious award after devoting an average of five years to progress through sixteen achievements in the CAP Cadet Program.  Along the way, they develop self-discipline, a strong sense of personal responsibility, the ability to lead and persuade, and the foundations necessary for pursuing a career in aviation, space, or technology.

The following Van Meter Cadet Squadron cadets have earned the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award:

Christopher J. Russell (#2175) - May 2018

Gen. Ira C. Eaker Awards

The General Ira C. Eaker Award is the CAP Cadet Program’s second most prestigious award and honors one of the forefathers of an independent Air Force. With General (then major) Carl Spaatz, in 1929 Eaker remained aloft aboard The Question Mark, a modified Atlantic-Fokker C-2A, for nearly a week, to demonstrate a newfound capability of aerial refueling. During WWII, Eaker rose to the grade of lieutenant general and commanded the Eighth Air Force, "The Mighty Eighth" force of strategic bombers. Even as a general, Eaker preferred to lead from the front, personally flying B-17 precision bombing missions over occupied France and Germany.

The following Van Meter Cadet Squadron cadets have earned the Gen. Ira C. Eaker Award:

Christopher J. Russell (#3325) - Apr 2018


Amelia Earhart Awards

The Amelia Earhart Award honors an aviatrix, writer, and champion for civil rights who set many records in aviation’s infancy before her famous disappearance during her attempt to become the first woman to circumnavigate the globe. Adored by the public, Earhart spoke and wrote about the romance of aviation. “The stars seemed near enough to touch and never before have I seen so many,” she wrote of one record setting flight. “I always believed the lure of flying is the lure of beauty, but I was sure of it that night.”

The following Van Meter Cadet Squadron cadets have earned the Amelia Earhart Award:

Casey Huston (#19139) - May 2020
Victor T. Valdivia (#17143) - Oct 2015
Richard M. Haywood (#16893) - Mar 2015
August A. Dutille (#16839) - Jan 2015
Christopher S. Russell (#16771) - Nov 2014
Brandon S. Burke (Unknown) - Apr 2011

Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell Awards

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. Mitchell continued his all-out public campaign for airpower, even facing court-martial for his persistence. He knew that in the new "aeronautical era," military airpower, operating independently of ground and sea forces, needed to be the first line of defense. Not until World War II did the full U.S. military establishment realize how right he was. After the Allied victory, and by a special act of Congress, Mitchell was posthumously awarded a gold medal. With General Mitchell as their role model, cadet officers know that speaking truth to power is a moral duty.

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 service also looks favorably upon Mitchell cadets when evaluating AFROTC and Academy applicants.

Van Meter Cadet Squadron has presented the Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell award to the following cadets:

Aidan Mills (#71299) - Mar 2020
Dalton Wells (#70673) - Sep 2019
Todd Svoboda (#70036) - Apr 2019
Casey James Huston (#69718) - Jan 2019
Andrew J. Haywood (#69732) - Dec 2018
Ethan P. Scott-Smith (#69305) - Sep 2018
Carter Pettey (#68108) - Jul 2017
Brett Long (#67096) - Oct 2016
Victor T. Valdivia (#65058) - Feb 2015
Christopher S. Russell (#63474) - Nov 2013
Richard M. Haywood (#63473) - Nov 2013
August A. Dutille (#63109) - Jun 2013
Brandon S. Burke (Unknown) - Apr 2010

Kentucky Wing Cadet Officer of the Year

Brandon S. Burke - 2010

Squadron Unit Awards Received

Great Lakes Region Squadron of Distinction - 2014
Awarded to one Squadron per Region each year. The Squadron of Distinction (SOD) is selected annually by the region commander based on the unit’s performance during the preceding calendar year.

Squadron of Merit - 2014
Squadron of Merit - 2013
Squadron of Merit - 2012

Awarded to one Squadron per Wing each year. The Squadron of Merit (SOM) is selected annually by the wing commander based on the unit’s performance during the preceding calendar year.

Quality Cadet Unit Award - 2019
Quality Cadet Unit Award - 2015
Quality Cadet Unit Award - 2014
Quality Cadet Unit Award - 2013

The QCUA motivates cadet and composite squadrons to pursue objective goals that correlate with a successful squadron-level Cadet Program. QCUA differs from the SOM/SOD program in that an unlimited number of squadrons may win annually.

KY WG Cadet Squadron of the Year - 2019

Squadron Histories

KY-222 2019 Squadron History

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