Civil Air Patrol cadet receives rare Spaatz award
June 14, 2012
FORT BELVOIR, Va. (June 14) -- A Civil Air Patrol cadet officially joined the ranks of a prestigious club during a ceremony at the District of Columbia National Guard Armory on Davison Army Airfield June 7.
Col. William Vician, Mount Vernon Composite Squadron cadet commander, received the General Carl A. Spaatz Award for five years of superior performance.
Two out of every thousand cadets accomplish the feat which requires progressing through 16 program achievements and then passing a four-part exam testing writing, fitness, aerospace, moral reasoning and leadership skills.
William, a CAP member since 2007, succeeded despite a hectic schedule that included, graduating as Evangel Christian School's 2012 valedictorian, serving as the school's soccer team captain and earning the Boy Scouts of America's Eagle Scout rank.
The ceremony's guest speaker, Maj. Gen. Darren McDew, Air Force District of Washington, Joint Base Andrews, Md., commander, recited William's long list of accomplishments and hobbies to Families, servicemembers and CAP cadets.
"I want to be him when I grow up." McDew joked.
What motivates a person to excel in school, sports and extracurricular activities?
According to William, it's an obligation he has to the CAP program, the general population and God.
"I owe everyone 100 percent of my effort," William said. "They expect that and, if I can give 100 percent of my effort, then people can rely on me and know I'm serious about my goals."
CAP, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 adult and youth members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft.
William's squadron is part of the National Capital Wing, which has approximately 203 volunteer officers and senior members and 153 cadets in Washington, D.C.
The wing conducts homeland security missions and flight orientation lessons for youth among other initiatives.
The Spaatz award is the highest honor for Cadets, who qualify for the exam after spending about five years in the program. William completed the task in four years and eight months.
The exam features two 60 question tests in leadership and aerospace, an essay on a moral leadership topic and physical fitness tests such as a mile run and push ups.
Upon passing the Spaatz Award exams, the cadet is promoted to the grade of cadet colonel.
"It's a rare reward," said Lt. Col. Janon Ellis, National Capital Wing director and vice commander.
Ellis, a fellow Spaatz winner, said one reason why few cadets earn the rank is because most don't have the time to meet all the requirements.
Williams said becoming an Eagle Scout at age 15 motivated him to push through the CAP program. The cadet commander also believed his success would inspire others to participate.
"It shows that … with hard work and determination you all can do it too," William said to his squadron during formal remarks. "I have faith in all of you."
Guest lined up after the ceremony to congratulate William on his achievement. No one in the crowd of people was more proud of the Minnesota native than his parents.
"I think he understands God has a plan for him, he's given him talents, so he needs to use those talents to succeed," said William's father Air Force Col. Todd Vician, Air Force Fellow Program, Air Force fellow. "He's goal oriented, sees that you can get a lot from helping others, and you can help yourself as well."
William's mother, Susan Vician, Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, birth registrar, added, "He's really just a great kid, but that's a mom talking."
What have more "objective" people said?
"The Commonwealth of Virginia is fortunate to have such a fine young resident," said U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.), in a letter to William.
Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) recognized William during a House of Representatives session.
"His service to the CAP and level of achievement in the program should serve as a model to future recruits," Connolly said.