PLACERVILLE — The Eugene L. Carnahan Cadet Squadron 85 celebrated its 30th anniversary with a celebratory awards banquet Saturday night at the Diamond Springs Mother Lode Lion’s Club facility. The event was attended by more than 100 guests and dignitaries from the community and the ranks of Civil Air Patrol, past and present.
The evening started with the Presentation of the Colors by the squadron’s own Color Guard, after which C/A1C Lauren Wandell sang the National Anthem accompanied by pianist Fred Costa. The opening ceremonies concluded with a very moving remembrance tribute with the traditional POW/MIA Ceremony as Zander Falk played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes. The invocation was presented by Chaplain Whit Woodard, National Chief of Chaplains – NHQ, Col., CAP. In addition, Chaplain Woodard relayed an anniversary congratulatory message from Amy S. Courter, National Commander, Maj. Gen., CAP.
Continuing with the evening festivities, Capt. Dustin Jones presented a special historical tribute about Civil Air Patrol and how CAP is also celebrating its own 69th anniversary as of Dec. 1. In conjunction with the joint anniversaries a proclamation was read by Maj. Andrew Peters, presented to the squadron by the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, denoting the week of Dec. 1, 2010: Civil Air Patrol Week — “for it’s ‘Mission for America’ and it’s outstanding cadet and aerospace programs which annually touch the lives and ensure the safety of thousands of American citizens.”
During the course of the evening, several past and current CAP members spoke of their remembrance of Eugene L. Carnahan, the namesake of the squadron, as being focused and dedicated to the development of the youth of America and the CAP Cadet Program. The memories were exemplified by Mike Thachet, former Group 25 (now Group 5) Chaplain, Erike Young, former Squadron 85 Spaatz Cadet (CAP’s highest cadet honor) and Maj. Andrew Peters, who as been a member of the squadron since 1994, all speaking about the early days of the squadron, the later years and cumulating with the current State of the Squadron by Squadron Commander Capt. Rick Kaita.
The evening concluded with the annual Squadron Awards presentations, of which there were many.
Receiving the Presidential Physical Fitness Awards were C/A1C Alanna Appel, C/2nd Lt. John Barb, C/AB Julianne Barb, C/2nd Lt. Mary Barb, C/1st Lt. Trenton Bromenschenkel, C/Amn Clarrisa Gregory and C/CMSgt. Anthony Smith.
Cadets C/SMgt. Kimberly Kaita and C/CMSgt. Anthony Smith were awarded the Red Service Ribbon with a Bronze clasp, denoting five years of continued service in CAP.
Special acknowledgment went also to the cadets who helped support the Squadron with their recruiting efforts with the presentation of the CAP Recruiter Ribbon. Those Cadets were C/Sgt. Daniel Clark and C/A1C Joshua Woodel (two recruits), C/2nd Lt. Mary Barb (with a bronze clasp denoting five recruits) and C/CMSgt. Anthony Smith receiving his third bronze clasp for recruiting his 15th CAP member. C/SSgt. Daniel Clark received an additional award for Community Service, for volunteering for more than 60 hours in the community outside of Civil Air Patrol.
In the area of academic achievement, C/A1C Aundrea Gregory, C/Amn. Justin Slaight, C/AB Isaac Slepian, and C/A1C Lauren Wandell received awards for the Highest Testing scores in the field of Leadership. In the Aerospace category, C/A1C Alanna Appel, C/MSgt. Jeff Jordan, and c/1st Lt. Evan Yanagihara were recognized. The overall academic achievement award for both categories went to C/A1C Alanna Appel.
Several senior members (adult CAP officers) were also recognized for their contributions to the CAP program. Chaplain Paul Vance, Capt., was awarded the Commander’s Commendation for Pilot of the Year for Group 5. 2nd Lt Laura Clark and Capt. Ronald Thompson were awarded Community Service Ribbons and Capt. Aaron Yanagihara was awarded the California Wing Newsletter of the Year award. In addition, Capt. Dustin Jones was promoted to the rank of Major.
The evening awards were enhanced with the presentation of the General Billy Mitchell awards to both C/1st Lt. John Barb and C/1st Lt. Mary Barb. The Gen. Billy Mitchell Award has existed since 1964. This award honors the late Brigadier General Billy Mitchell, aviation pioneer, advocate, and staunch supporter of an independent Air Force for America. The award is earned after completing the first eight achievements of the cadet program. In addition, the cadet must pass an arduous 100 question examination testing leadership theory and aerospace topics. Since its inception over 45 years ago, less than 12 percent of cadets have earned this honor. The awards were present by El Dorado County Sheriff-elect John D’Agostini.
Finally, the award ceremony concluded with the naming of the Squadron’s Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year and the Cadet Officer of the Year. The NCO of the Year for 2010 was awarded to C/2nd Lt Mary Barb for her exemplary duty performance as a NCO over the past year and support and training of cadets. The Cadet Officer of the Year for 2010 was awarded to C/1st Lt. Evan Yanagihara, for his noteworthy service as the Squadron Cadet Commander and the Cadet Drill Team Commander (having recently taken the team to the National Cadet Competition).
The evening ended with the Chaplain giving the Benediction and the Color Guard retiring the colors.
THe Eugene L. Carnahan Cadet Squadron 85 is based at the Veteran’s Memorial Hall in Placerville, Ca, and meets at 6:30 p.m. every Thursday night. More information can be found at www.cap85.org.