By 2nd Lt Donna Jablonski, Charlotte County Composite Squadron
PUNTA GORDA, Fla. -
For many cadets, the prospect of becoming a pilot is the highlight of a Civil Air Patrol career. On August 10, 2019 Cadet Lt. Col. Mikehla Hicks, Charlotte County Composite Squadron, joined an exclusive group as she successfully completed her Federal Aviation Administration check-ride to earn her Private Pilot Certificate and in addition, her CAP Pilot 'wings'.
According to Lt. Col. Russ Reichmann, CAP Florida Wing Director of Standardization and Evaluation, only 2/10ths of 1% of U.S. citizens have earned a private pilot certificate. Currently, there are only three cadets holding CAP pilot qualification in Florida Wing, Mikehla is the only female.
Hicks joined the Charlotte County Squadron at the age of 12 in 2013. She excelled in the cadet program. She progressed rapidly, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2017, an achievement earned by less than 1% of the approximate 25,000 CAP cadets. Hicks has been actively involved in the squadron and has held most all of the cadet positions including Unit Cadet Commander and is currently serving as the Unit Cadet Executive Officer. She has attended numerous CAP sponsored schools and encampments and has been awarded many activity and service awards including the prestigious Air Force Organizational Excellence award.
“Cadet Colonel Hicks represents the epitome of CAP’s core values of excellence, respect, integrity and volunteer service. Outstanding performance has been a hallmark of her cadet experience,” said Lt. Col. Milton "Jim" Kaletta, Commander of Civil Air Patrol Group 5 in Florida Wing. “I am proud of each of Mikehla’s outstanding achievements though her private pilot certificate has a special meaning for me.”
“This is good example of CAP’s successful history of providing opportunities for youth in Southwest Florida,” said Kaletta. “The cadet program puts the joy of flying within reach and allows youth to explore potential for future careers.”
Kaletta added, “I am very proud of all of the CAP volunteers from instructor pilots to unit staff whose combined efforts makes this type of achievement possible. Cadets who make a meaningful effort to participate in cadet programs and maintain scholastic success are deserving of all the assistance the organization can provide.”
Lt. Col. Dave Curtis was the CAP instructor pilot who prepared Hicks for the oral quiz and practical skills test performed by an FAA examiner. For the oral quiz, a pilot must be prepared to orally respond a variety of questions concerning all areas of pilot skills in addition to pre-planning a cross-country flight. In Hick’s case, the oral quiz lasted more than four hours. The student pilot must then demonstrate skill proficiency by piloting an aircraft through a variety of maneuvers as requested by the examiner.
C/Lt. Col. Mikehla Hicks was presented with her CAP Pilot “wings” by Lt. Col. Dave Curtis, at the August 12, 2019 cadet meeting. It was a bittersweet moment for Mikehla, it was a celebration of her 'wings' achievement, but also her last cadet meeting before she leaving for Tampa to start college at the University of South Florida.
Pictured Below: Deputy Commander of Cadets, 1st Lt. Ron Bower, presents C/Lt. Col. Mikehla Hicks with an outstanding achievement and appreciation award for her service to the organization as a cadet member.
DOWNLOAD IMAGE Photo Caption: CAP Instructor Pilot, Lt. Col. Dave Curtis, presents Cadet Lt. Col. Mikehla Hicks with her CAP Pilot 'Wings' during a pinning ceremony held August 12, 2019 at the Charlotte County Composite Squadron in Punta Gorda, Fla. (Photo: 2nd Lt. D. Jablonski, CAP)
Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, 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 80 lives annually. CAP’s 57,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. CAP also plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to 24,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com for more information.