SPECIAL EDITION:May Featured Airman of the Month
By Senior Airman Ashley Ramirez, 146th Airlift Wing
/ Published May 19, 2012
CHANNEL ISLANDS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Calif. -- As a special edition of the Channel Islands 'Featured Airman of the Month' the 146th would like to recognize Senior Airman Jonathan Khattar for the month of May. Khattar is a senior member of the Civil Air Patrol and was recently given the special opportunity to attend the Annual Civil Air Patrol National Board Meeting held in Washington D.C. Khattar sent us a story regarding his experience and we are happy to feature it on our web page. Congratulations to Senior Airman Khattar, thanks for all the work you do for the Air Force on AND off base!
I spent a week in February in Washington D.C. serving in several capacities for the Civil Air Patrol (CAP).
I started as a cadet with the Civil Air Patrol nine years ago in southern California. I currently serve as an adult member in the position of Deputy Commander for Cadets at the Las Vegas Composite Squadron. CAP is a national organization that serves in many areas of aerospace education, emergency services, and cadet programs. The latter is where my focus has been all these years.
Most recently, about two years ago I was asked to serve with the Aide-de-Camp staff for the National Commander of CAP. Today I still fulfill that role for the current National Commander, Major General, Charles Carr Jr. This duty is what brings me to Washington D.C. every year for the Annual CAP National Board Meeting and Legislative Day.
Every year CAP must request that Congress to reinstate the $4.5 million proposed budget cut. This involves direct contact with many senators and representatives in order to gain their support to help maintain this funding and continue performing valuable missions for the Air Force. I accompanied General Carr to all of his meetings with congressmen and women. My role wasn't the most glamorous, however, it is always a unique experience to being involved in a two-star general's schedule, getting to meet the people he meets and going the places he went. I was also able to assist in the general's presentation to the congress members for the Civil Air Patrol's national operating budget.
The entire week concluded with the Spaatz Association Banquet, which is a dinner held for any and all Spaatz Award recipients and families. To give a little background, the Spaatz Award is named after General Carl A. Spaatz who was the First Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force and the first Chairman of the CAP National Board. The Spaatz Award is the highest award in the Civil Air Patrol cadet program. The award is given to cadets who "successfully complete all phases of the CAP cadet program and the General Carl A. Spaatz Award examination." This examination consists of a leadership and aerospace education exam, a graded essay and a physical fitness test. The Spaatz Award is arguably the most difficult honor to earn in the CAP cadet program. Since its creation in 1964, there has been approximately 1800 people received this award. To break it down for you in numbers, that is about half of one percent of the total cadets in Civil Air Patrol who reach this highest possible award. The keynote speaker for this event was Secretary of the Air Force, General Norton Schwartz. He spoke to the association about CAP's cadet programs and cadets being our future leaders. I was able to meet Gen. Schwartz for a brief moment and take a photo. It was an experience I will never forget.