GCS honors local cadets

State Representative Kerry Rich presents an award to Cadet Col. Ryan Erskine at  Gadsden Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol awards ceremony on June 5. Also pictured is his mother, Major Sonya Minor.State Representative Kerry Rich presents an award to Cadet Col. Ryan Erskine at Gadsden Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol awards ceremony on June 5. Also pictured is his mother, Major Sonya Minor.

The Gadsden Composite Squadron held its award ceremony and change of command ceremony on June 5. Major Talmadge Butler, Unit Commander and Rep. Kerry Rich awarded the two newest cadets, second Lt. Levi Kellum and second Lt. Jonathan Roberts with their Billy Mitchell Award. 

The Billy Mitchell Award is the first phase of the cadets officers career. Obtaining this rank automatically gives the cadet a ranking in the USAF enlisted side as a E-3, which today means an extra $600 per month. These two cadets have been outstanding in their pursuit of the lieutenant rank. They have shown great followership and leadership over the last 18 months and represents what Civil Air Patrol tries to accomplish with the cadets. Watching these two young men grow and mature has been a honor because they are the future leaders.

The ceremony included a Change of Command for the cadet program. The outgoing Cadet Commander CMSGT Joseph Stanley relinquished command to incoming Cadet first Lt. Nathan Phillips. CC/CMSGT Stanley is an asset to our cadet structure. His leadership abilities include training cadets in Color Guard, drills, PT and overall comradery for his cadets. He has been a guiding force for the cadet unit in promoting safety issues with the guidance of Lt. Bob Noone. He goes out of his way to welcome any new visitor and cadet to our unit and insures that the new cadet immediately is assigned a buddy to assure they feel welcomed. His leadership will be the guiding force for the new incoming cadet commander.

Incoming Cadet Commander first Lt. Nathan Phillips enters into the position with great experience in leading groups of cadets through his hands on experience at two encampments, several NCO academies and representing our unit as the Cadet Advisory Counsel representative for the Alabama Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. He has continually shown his training to be a quality that the unit will benefit greatly from. He has plans to obtain his Spaatz Award and enter the USAF Academy in three years.

Additional command duties will be assigned to the following cadets, second Lt. Jonathan Roberts will be the Deputy Commander of Cadets, second Lt. Levi Kellum will be Flight Commander and CSMGT Kyle Parkske will be first Lt. Sgt. 

Cadet Colonel Ryan Erskine will be receiving a Legislative decree from Al. Rep. Kerry Rich, of the Boaz District. Rep. Rich will be on hand to award Cadet Colonel with this decree naming him for a day in Alabama. Col. Erskine will be leaving the Gadsden unit in Aug. to attend Auburn University with a full scholarship from the AFROTC program. There are only a very few number of Civil Air Patrol cadets who reach this final milestone in their career. These found men and women represent the best of our cadet programs worldwide. 

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