While most students are getting ready to head back to class, a Baldwin county teenager was receiving a special honor. Sam Cockrell, of Daphne, was awarded the Civil Air Patrol Spaatz on August 6, 2014. Congressman Bradley Byrne was in Foley for the presentation.
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.
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 foundation necessary for pursuing a career in aviation, space, or technology.
Sam Cockrell is the 49th cadet from Alabama to earn the award. He said it was a long journey.
“It’s just that more meaningful to me facing the challenges that I faced then being able to overcome them and then finally achieve this award that I worked almost six years for. It means a lot to finally be here,” explained Cockrell, Spaatz Award Recipient.
The final step a cadet must complete to earn the Spaatz Award is a rigorous four-part exam consisting of a challenging physical fitness test, an essay exam testing their moral reasoning, a comprehensive written exam on leadership, and a comprehensive written exam on aerospace education. Upon passing the Spaatz Award exams, the cadet is promoted to the grade of cadet colonel.
On average, only two cadets in one thousand earn the Spaatz Award. Since the award’s inception in 1964, Civil Air Patrol has presented the Spaatz Award to only 2,000 cadets nation-wide, including 49 from the state of Alabama.
Fox10News first introduced you to the Cockrell family in 2013, when he shared his story about a rare heart condition and surviving sudden cardiac arrest.
He recently launched a website to increase screenings for athletes and to make sure people know the warning signs of heart disease.