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Leesburg Squadron, Cadets Recognized for Excellence in Past Year

May 18, 2021

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Leesburg, Va. (May 18, 2021) – Marking the first in-person weekly meeting for the Leesburg Composite Squadron since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, cadets and senior members gathered on Tuesday evening to receive honors, awards, and major milestone promotions earned throughout the past 14 months.

Most notably, the squadron received “Squadron of Distinction” status, presented for calendar year 2019 for distinctive accomplishments in the cadet program during the preceding calendar year. Only 8 squadrons in the nation are selected for this honor annually.

Major David Thornton, CAP squadron commander, remarked that “few units have the circumstances present to do and achieve what we do. And I am proud that the members of the Leesburg squadron have risen to those occasions when called upon to serve our nation, excel, and grow together.”

Mid-Atlantic Region Commander Colonel Bruce B. Heinlein presented the certificate and flag streamer to unit, in addition to promoting two cadets – Ethan Jardines and Kathryn Homa – to Cadet Lieutenant Colonel, in recognition for earning the General Ira C. Eaker Award, the CAP Cadet Program’s second most prestigious award.

Virginia Wing Commander Colonel Liz Sydow presented the Amelia Earhart Award to six cadets – Lauren Creese, Ciara Degnan, Katheen Degnan, Geffen Franus, Aaron Hayman, and Seth Nicholsen – as well as promotions to Cadet Captain. Col, Sydow also presented the Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Julia McGee with the Virginia Wing’s Cadet of the Year award, presented to the most outstanding cadet in the state annually.

Group Three Commander Major James C. Mathews, responsible for CAP squadrons in northern Virginia, presented the General Billy Mitchell Award to five cadets – Kylee Coleman, Alec Garica, Benjamin Pittelkau, Joseph Robinson, and Justin Robinson – and promoted each to Cadet Second Lieutenant.

“You all have so much to be proud of, especially in light of the past year and what we have all endured,” said Lt Col Scott Nicholsen, the Leesburg Squadron’s Deputy Commander for Cadets. “Unique challenges require unique talents and people. And each of you has proven to you have the dedication to a goal and the ability to deliver exceptional results.”

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