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Civil Air Patrol Cadets Earn Prestigious Awards

One year after earning the award, Cadet 1st Lt. Aidan Mills is presented his Mitchell Award
from KYWing Commander, Colonel Darrel Williamson, March 18, 2021; photo by 2d Lt. Kathy Mills
(More pictures below)


Civil Air Patrol Cadets Earn Prestigious Awards

By 2d Lt Kathy Mills, CAP PAO, Van Meter Cadet Squadron

Lexington, Ky. (March 18, 2021) – Two Lexington Civil Air Patrol (CAP) cadets received the esteemed Billy Mitchell Award during the 2020 COVID pandemic lock down. C/1st Lt. Aidan Mills earned his Mitchell in March 2020 prior to the closure of all in-person meetings and C/2d Lt. Anna Martin earned her Mitchell Award in December. The award is given in recognition for sustained excellence in all four areas of cadet life: leadership, aerospace, fitness, and character. Only 15% of Civil Air Patrol cadets achieve this distinguished award.

Promoting under normal circumstances can be difficult, but during the pandemic lockdown, it was even more challenging for Mills and Martin to maintain their motivation and determination to complete their required activities and tests in isolation. While they had virtual support from senior leadership, it required ingenuity and creativity to complete the required activities virtually. Both Mills and Martin believe that it was more difficult because it was not the same as in-person support and accountability, however they feel they developed a greater sense of focus that will be beneficial throughout their careers.

“Cadet Martin and Cadet Mills consistently demonstrate CAP’s core values of integrity, volunteerism, excellence and respect. They have been integral members of KY222 who have brought leadership, mentorship, vision, and specialized training to our squadron,” Squadron Commander William von Brandenburg noted.  He believes both Martin and Mills have been excellent role models for the squadron cadets. “Our role models are more important than ever. Our youth are struggling in this pandemic. We had to be creative in providing programs virtually and keep cadets involved even as they attended school in the same virtual atmosphere.” 

Virtual burnout was a possibility, but the Lexington squadron continued to train both seniors and cadets in a variety of activities. Von Brandenburg said he wanted cadets to be able to interact with each other virtually. “All cadets have a roadmap to success in CAP. Mills and Martin are examples of youth being able to overcome obstacles. They created goals and achieved them. Now other cadets know they can succeed as well.” It is an opinion Mills echoes.

“Starting out as a Cadet Airman, the Billy Mitchell Award was something I thought was almost unobtainable. Or at the very least, would take me a very long time to earn,” Cadet Mills remarked. “But I discovered reaching this milestone in CAP is attainable for anyone if they are willing to do what it takes.” Through his efforts, Mills has been promoted to cadet First Lieutenant. 

Cadet/1st Lt. Mills was also nominated and awarded the Air Force Sergeants' Association Award to Outstanding Cadet NCOs, which recognizes exemplary service or exceptionally outstanding achievement. He was presented this distinguished certificate, ribbon, and medal with his Mitchell Award. 

Mills is studying Media Communications with a concentration in Film Production at Asbury University in Wilmore, KY and will continue to be an active member of the Lexington CAP Cadet Squadron.

Martin’s struggle to earn the Mitchell was a bit harder but had a big payoff. “I joined CAP later in my high school career and didn’t think I would have the time or leadership abilities to make it this far; nevertheless, I wanted to try my best. Since my first promotion, I kept that long-term goal as my motivation.” 

Cadet Martin’s diligence and determination led to a 4-year Naval ROTC scholarship at Texas A&M. She plans to study meteorology this fall and hopes to be a naval aviator. Upon graduation, Martin will be commissioned as an officer in the Navy.

Despite the challenges, the Kentucky Wing has been able to reopen squadrons across the state under strict safety guidelines. 1st Lt Von Brandenburg said safety protocols are in place and cadets are happy to get back to in person meetings and activities. “We are happy to be back promoting positive character and leadership through aerospace education, emergency services training and much more,” he explained. CAP inspires youth ages 12-18 to become the next generation of leaders. “We want kids to develop a passion for flying, leadership, cybersecurity, emergency services as well as many other careers. We’re showing kids that the future is bright as Mills and Martin’s when they have a can-do attitude.”

Van Meter Cadet Squadron meets each Thursday at 6 pm at LexCity Church, 410 Sporting Ct #3560, Lexington, KY 40503. For more information about the Lexington area Civil Air Cadet Program, please visit our website at on Facebook at or contact Squadron Commander William von Brandenburg at

Civil Air Patrol is the longtime auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and as such is a valued member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 single-engine aircraft and 1,994 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS). It performs about 90% of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 82 lives annually. CAP’s 60,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Operating as a nonprofit organization, CAP also plays a leading role in STEM/aerospace education, and its members serve as mentors to about 25,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit www.CAP.News or for more in


C/2d Lt. Anna Martin displays her Billy Mitchell Award, March 18, 2021; photo by 2d Lt. Kathy Mills

C/2d Lt. Anna Martin proudly displays her Billy Mitchell Award, March 18, 2021; photo by 2d Lt. Kathy Mills

An honored surprise at the award ceremony: Cadet 1st Lt. Aidan Mills was presented the Air Force Sergeants Award
from KY222 Squadron Commander 1st Lt. William von Brandenburg, March 18, 2021; photo by 2d Lt. Kathy Mills


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