Charlotte County Squadron Cadets Promoted
Friday, March 31, 2017
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Photo Caption:
Cadet Lt Col Austin Alonso receives the Ira C. Eaker Award from Charlotte County squadron's Deputy Commander of Cadets, 2nd Lt. Karen Casa.

By Maj. Earle Bretz, Public Affairs Officer, Charlotte County Composite Squadron
Punta Gorda, FL--The Charlotte County Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol celebrated the accomplishments of four cadets by promoting them to new grades.

Each cadet career is marked with a personal sense of achievement and the ceremonies which brings a momentary spotlight which shines on each cadet as they stand in front of their peers to be recognized for the progress up the grade ladder. This promotion ceremony is a significant reward in the life of a CAP cadet.

Being a CAP cadet is a rewarding experience and receiving a special award or a promotion in recognition for hard work, effort and success is a special occasion. These cadets may begin their career as young as the age of 12 and many continue to the age of 21. The series of milestones along the way mark grow in character development, leadership ability, physical prowess and greater understanding of the concepts involved with aerospace discovery and industry.

The three following pictures record this magical moment and the pride of cadet achievement.

Picture 1 shows Cadet Tech Sgt Sean Staples left and Cadet Chief Mstr Sgt Tyler Ezzi.

Picture 2 is of Cadet Mstr Sgt Justin McDonald and his proud parents.

Picture 3 is especially remarkable. It is of Cadet Lt Col Austin Alonso and Deputy Commander of Cadets, 2nd Lt. Karen Casa. It is remarkable because this young man has achieved the second highest grade possible in the cadet program, a level that a small percentage of cadets achieve. It was accomplished while Cadet Alonso was battling a non-malignant brain tumor that required two major surgeries in addition to months of rehabilitation.

Despite the challenges, this young man amazed his CAP comrades and seniors as he battled everything that life has thrown at him, staying focused to complete all that CAP required of him and climbed into the stratosphere of a Lieutenant Colonel. A true success story deserving of the highest accolades. His commander commented, "Where he found the drive and energy for all of his accomplishments is amazing. Throughout his cadet career, we have seen this drive in every task he was assigned."

Each of these cadets continue to apply themselves to reach personal goals and in volunteer service. We can all be very proud. Congratulations, gentlemen.
Article Information
Reviewed by: Maj. Earle Bretz
Syndicated to: Region Hq, Florida Wing, Cadet Programs, Group 5
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Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Forceís Total Force, which consists of regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees. CAP, in its Total Force role, operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 90 percent 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 78 lives annually. Civil Air Patrolís 56,000 members nationwide also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Its members additionally play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program. Performing missions for America for the past 75 years, CAP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit for more information.
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