Civil Air Patrol Member Earns Mitchell Award in Wheeling

Photo Provided Cadet 2nd Lt. Joseph W. Main, center, of the Civil Air Patrol’s Wheeling Composite Squadron, receives the Gen. Billy Mitchell Award from Col. Paul G. McCroskey II, left, West Virginia Wing commander, and 2nd Lt. John R. Ewing, the squadron’s deputy commander of cadets.

Cadet 2nd Lt. Joseph W. Main of the West Virginia Wing’s Wheeling Composite Squadron was pinned with his current rank last week after earning the Gen. Billy Mitchell Award.

Main, a Civil Air Patrol member since May 2012, graduated from Wheeling Central Catholic High School in May. He has enlisted in the Air Force and is to report to San Antonio, Texas, for training next week.

Asked about his promotion, he said, “It’s been a lot of work but it has been well worth it and I could not have achieved this honor without the help of a lot of CAP members along the way. I plan to utilize what I’ve learned about being a leader in the Air Force.”

The Mitchell Award has existed since 1964. It honors the late Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell, an 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 that tests leadership theory and aerospace topics. Since its inception over 50 years ago, more than 42,000 cadets have earned this honor.

Being an important milestone in the Civil Air Patrol cadet program, the Mitchell Award is normally presented by a CAP group commander or higher. Main received the honor from Col. Paul G. McCroskey II, the West Virginia Wing commander, and 2nd Lt. John R. Ewing, the squadron’s deputy commander of cadets.

Once cadets earn the award, they are promoted to the grade of cadet second lieutenant. These cadets, who later enter CAP’s senior member program, are eligible for immediate promotion to CAP second lieutenant at age 21.

Cadets who receive the Mitchell Award are eligible for advanced placement in the grade of E-3 (airman first class) if they enlist in the Air Force. They also are eligible for advanced credit in Air Force ROTC programs. They may apply for a variety of scholarships and CAP special activities.

The Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 57,000 members nationwide. The Civil Air Patrol performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center.