Three teens earn prestigious national award with Civil Air Patrol
January 20, 2018, Frederickburg, VA - Three Civil Air Patrol cadets were presented with the Gen. Billy Mitchell Award and gained the rank of second lieutenant at the Fredericksburg Composition Squadron’s annual Dining Out at the Fredericksburg Country Club on Jan. 20.
With this achievement Luke Autrey, 17, of Spotsylvania County, Kevin Dreeke, 18, of Stafford County, and Lydianna Notheis, 16, from Marshall, join just 15 percent of all cadets in the nationwide program and are eligible for immediate promotions should they choose to enlist in the Air Force or another military branch.
“It takes an incredible amount of dedication to make it this far in the cadet program,” says Capt. Greg Fletcher, Commander of the Fredericksburg Composite Squadron. “It’s a lot of work to reach this point in the cadet program, but these cadets will be competent leaders wherever they go in life, due in large part to their experiences as a Civil Air Patrol cadet.”
All three cadets have served or currently serve in leadership roles at the Fredericksburg squadron and are passing on the knowledge they have gained in the program to younger members. They also all serve active roles in their community beyond the Civil Air Patrol and have exciting prospects ahead after they leave the program.
Autrey, a senior at Massaponax High School, has been a member of CAP since 2015, and currently serves as a flight commander and as a member of the Virginia Wing Cadet Advisory Council. He serves as a camera operator and director at his local church. He plans to attend Liberty University next fall and eventually complete medical school and serve as a military physician.
Dreeke, captain of the tennis team at Stafford High School, recently received his appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy for the upcoming academic year. He attained his private pilot certificate at age 17 through JLS Aviation in Fredericksburg, and volunteers as a co-pilot for Patient Airlift Services.
Notheis, who is homeschooled, joined the organization in 2015 to gain leadership experience and explore new skill sets. She currently leads in the squadron as a flight commander and volunteers with her local church and with Generation Joshua.
“The moment you decide to become a leader is the moment that you focus on everyone but yourself,” says Dreeke. All three cadets display this concept through both their words and their actions in Civil Air Patrol and elsewhere.