By: C/Amn Samuel Ward, cadet PAO and 1st. Lt. Bryan Weil, squadron PAO
Tuesday, July 29th, 2014, was a big night for cadets, seniors, and their families to get together to celebrate the successes of the last six months. Prior to the ceremony, everyone feasted on a variety of dishes and delicious desserts brought by the families, and plenty of time was given for everyone to meet each other’s friends and families while they ate. The agenda for the evening included a change of command ceremony, award presentations and promotions. Cadets and their families brought delicious home cooked meals and takeout food.
During the change of command ceremony, C/Lt Col Peter Soares was relieved as his position as Cadet Commander after completing his six month tour, handing over responsibilities to C/1st. Lt Devyn Williams who took over as commander for the next six months. Soares offered the following when asked about his time as company commander, “It was one of the best experiences of my life especially since we got the opportunity to start from scratch which thought us as executive staff how to go about and implementing procedures. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be commander and will always be in debt to the squadron.” Williams was able to address the audience after accepting the command flag from Soares and offered, “I hope to see an increase of 10 new, active cadets. Additionally I would like to increase our visibility in the community through community service and recruiting.” Williams also stated that the cadet program will be reintroducing specialty tracks so that the cadets can choose what they want to focus their training to emphasize.”
During the award ceremony, 2nd. Lt. James Browning was awarded the Mitchell Award, which is earned after the completion of the first eight achievements of the cadet program. In addition, the cadet must pass a comprehensive 100-question examination covering leadership theory and aerospace topics. C/Capt. Steve Soares was awarded the Earhart award, which is earned after the receipt of the General Billy Mitchell Award and the completion of the first eleven achievements of the Cadet Program. C/Lt Col. Peter Soares was awarded the Eaker award which denotes successful completion of all of the achievements of the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program.
Cadet promotions were announced next, and Rijel Evans was promoted from C/Sr. Airman to C/SSgt; Zoey Vestal was promoted from C/SSgt to C/TSgt; Brannan Massey was promoted from C/TSgt to C/Msgt; and Matthew Fletcher was promoted from C/TSgt to C/Msgt. Senior member promotions were announced next, and Raleigh Wake Squadron Commander Richard Laviano was promoted from Captain to Major. Tracie Langley was reinstated to Captain following a leave of absence, and Ryan Almich was promoted to 2nd Lt.
Following the promotion ceremony 2nd. Lt. Browning presented Maj. Laviano with the championship trophy which the color guard received during a Middle East Region color guard competition earlier this year and 2nd. Lt. Vestal presented Major Laviano with awards received in this year’s cyber patriot competition. The cyber patriot team placed first place in local competition, third in region competition, and finally placing seventh in the nation out of 1500 teams competing. Vestal also presented Laviano and Lt. Col. Jay Langley, with briefcases from the competition and a challenge coin.
Deputy Commander of Cadets Lt Col J Jay Langley said when summing up the entire evening and the progress the cadet corps has made over the last year, “I am very proud of how well each group within our cadet program has rallied and excelled in their own respective areas; how well our cyber patriot team did this year and how much the ground team, communications, emergency services and ranger team members have learned, grown and excelled in their chosen specialty.” Langley added “I am very impressed and proud of how well our line and support staff have worked together to grow the squadron, train and promote new cadets and provide a healthy exciting fast paced training program four our cadets to participate in. I am so very excited about this new staff and how much incredible potential exists in their leadership and enthusiasm.”
Squadron Commander Maj. Rich Laviano expressed his gratitude to Lt. Col Langley and his staff of dedicated senior members who have greatly “impacted the lives of the cadets through their tireless efforts over the last year.” Laviano also added “each of these young men and women who participate in the cadet program will have their lives positively changed in so many ways, both seen and unseen”, and that ” the leadership skills learned in CAP will certainly help them to be successful in whatever career they choose down the road.”