Abby Pinder – a senior at NorthWood High School – was presented with the General Billy Mitchell Award by officers of the Civil Air Patrol and Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter in a ceremony at the Stockman Youth Center. The award is the highest honor that can be achieved by a teen Cadet in the program. In order to receive the award Pinder completed the CAP leadership program, passed tests for physical training and in an aerospace module, was a Cadet Commander and participated in the groups State Encampment.
If a winner of the Mitchell Award eventually decides to enlist in the United States Air Force they enter at the E3 level – Airman First Class.
“It is a huge honor to get this award,” said Pinder. “I could never have done this without the support of my family and friends. (CAP) has given me a confidence in myself I didn’t know I had. I never could have imagined the affect that I could have on other people. I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to use the knowledge I’ve gained to affect others.”
In the late 1930s, more than 150,000 volunteers with a love for aviation argued for an organization to put their planes and flying skills to use in defense of their country. As a result, the Civil Air Patrol was born one week prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Three primary mission areas were set forth at that time:
aerospace education, cadet programs, and emergency services.
The CAP has an introductory cadet program for teens (ages 12 to 21) and a senior program (18 and over). Cadets compete for academic scholarships to further their studies in fields such as engineering, science, aircraft mechanics, aerospace medicine, meteorology and earn hands on experience in whichever of those fields they may choose. The Plymouth flight works to get members at least one orientation flight each year, with hands on time alongside an experienced pilot.
Beyond the Cadet programs CAP members participate in search and rescue, humanitarian and counter drug missions.
Plymouth’s CAP flight has been active since July of 2006, and meet at the Plymouth Airport each Thursday from 6:45 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. Anyone interested need only attend meetings to become a member. More information on the Civil Air Patrol is available at http:// www.gocivilairpatrol.com/