Virginia Wing
Main Content

Virginia Wing Civil Air Patrol Cadet Earns Spaatz Award

March 11, 2024

News Item Image

Cadet Colonel Rachel Sherrod has recently earned Civil Air Patrol’s highest cadet achievement, the General Carl A. Spaatz Award, recipient #2513, and the 88th cadet to receive this award in Virginia Wing since its inception.

Cadet Col. Sherrod first began her Civil Air Patrol career in August of 2018 as part of Virginia Wing’s Newport News Composite Squadron. Only five months into her membership, her family moved to Missouri on military orders. She helped to stand up the Laclede County Composite Squadron serving as the squadron’s first sergeant, cadet advisory council representative, and then cadet commander. Working diligently to create a strong, lasting squadron, her experiences sparked a love for leadership within the Civil Air Patrol and all that the organization can do for cadets who join the program.

In 2020, she reunited with Newport News Comp. Sq., where she began working her way up from the Mitchell Award. Since returning to Virginia Wing, her accomplishments have been immeasurable, as she has served tirelessly to help rebuild a post-pandemic wing. Her first squadron commander, Capt. Jimmy Taylor, said, “I’ve had the honor of watching Rachel from her CAP beginning to where she is now. It’s been like watching a seed blossom into a majestic tree; each week revealing new layers of strength, wisdom, and inspiration, which are all traits of a great leader.”

From 2021-2022, she served as her squadron’s cadet commander, leading the transition from virtual to in-person meetings, while simultaneously transforming the squadron’s growth. Her efforts allowed the unit to not only manage post-pandemic circumstances, but blossom in this new reality and reach its greatest potential.

Cadet Col. Sherrod’s vision reaches beyond her own squadron. In 2022, she co-created, led, and facilitated the inaugural Virginia Wing Cadet Executive Staff and Command Course which was designed to help officers in the wing develop their leadership skills and create healthy cultures for their home squadrons.

In 2023, Sherrod resurrected the Drill and Ceremonies School activity so that cadets would have an opportunity to refresh their drill knowledge and participate in something outside of their own squadrons. She redesigned the course from the ground up, and fostered inter-unit participation by inviting the rest of the wing to join in. Serving as the multi-day event’s cadet commander, she raised the standards of both drill and cadet leadership across the wing. With the resounding success of the first under her belt, she is facilitating another iteration of this activity in April.

Capt. When-Dee Morrison, former Deputy Commander for Cadets for Southside Composite Squadron, worked with Cadet Col. Sherrod as her training officer for the Virginia Wing Summer Encampment in 2021. She said that Sherrod, "not only wants to be excellent in all she does, but wants to help everyone around her be excellent as well. She puts time in to help develop her people because she believes in them."

Today, Cadet Col. Sherrod serves in her home squadron in numerous roles, and takes special time to mentor other cadets in drill and ceremonies before every meeting. Past her contributions at her local unit, she will also be serving at the Virginia Wing Summer Encampment this year. While balancing the workload of her many Civil Air Patrol contributions, she also is furthering her education as a junior on the Dean’s List at North Greenville University, working toward her bachelor’s in business and leadership.

A recipient of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Cadet Officer of the Year Award for 2020, Air and Space Forces Association Award for 2022, Virginia Wing’s Cadet of the Year for 2021 and 2023, and an Achievement Award for her work with the Drill & Ceremonies School, along with being the first female Spaatz recipient in the history of Newport News Comp. Sq., Cadet Col. Sherrod plans to max out her cadet experience and to help other cadets grow, eventually transferring to the senior member side to continue serving when she turns 21.

Virginia Wing is very proud to congratulate Cadet Col. Sherrod for earning her Spaatz Award! A role model for generations to come, she is an embodiment of Civil Air Patrol’s Core Values and servant leadership!


About Virginia Wing

Civil Air Patrol's Virginia Wing is home to 21 squadrons spread throughout the Commonwealth and has approximately 2,250 members, 13 light aircraft, 6 small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), and 28 multi-mission vehicles. These assets are available to federal, state, and local governments, as well as to emergency responders and law enforcement agencies to perform search and rescue, homeland security, disaster relief, humanitarian assistance, and counter-drug missions. For more information on Virginia Wing, visit the wing’s website at

About Civil Air Patrol

Founded in 1941 and established as the official civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force seven years later, Civil Air Patrol is chartered by Congress as a nonprofit organization for the purposes of youth development, aerospace education, and to promote general aviation. In an auxiliary role as a Total Force partner of the Air Force, CAP operates the world’s largest fleet of single-engine aircraft for search and rescue, disaster relief, training, and education. Civil Air Patrol is dedicated to serving America’s communities, saving lives, and shaping futures.

Visit or for more information. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

For More Information:

Capt. Cyrus Rodriguez <>

Written by Cadet 1st Lt. Brista Stevens

« Back

© 2024 Civil Air Patrol. All rights reserved.