C/Lt Col Jon Ball, the Cadet Commander of the Boone Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol, took top honors as the Cadet of the Year for the West Virginia Wing at the 72nd annual WV Wing CAP Conference and Banquet on October 26, 2013.
Ball was selected from more than 250 CAP cadets in West Virginia as the most outstanding cadet for 2013.
In his third year at WVU Tech as a mechanical engineering student, he has been a CAP member since August of 2008. He has earned numerous awards and achieved many training goals throughout the past five years, including qualification as a Ground Search and Rescue member and a Mission Radio Operator. This past summer he served as the Cadet Commander of the 2013 WV Wing Summer Encampment, supervising 106 cadets for a week-long stay at Camp Dawson, Kingwood.
A total of 19 members, family and friends represented the Boone Squadron at the Conference and Banquet, held at the Marriott in Charleston.
The Conference offered approximately twelve seminars which the cadets and adult members could attend to learn about many of Civil Air Patrol’s activities and responsibilities.
During one of the seminars, cadets and adult members had the honor of meeting Colonel Mary Feik, a pioneer in aviation and a true American hero.
After rebuilding her father’s automobile engine at the age of 13, Feik turned to aircraft engines and became the first woman to rebuild an airplane engine, as well as design aircraft engines.
She has received many awards for her dedication to aviation research and safety. During World War II, Feik became an expert on many military aircraft, and taught aircraft maintenance for the United States Army Air Corps in 1942. She will be 90 years old in March 2014 and is currently planning to begin personally restoring her deceased husband’s aircraft.
During the awards portion of the Conference, the Boone Composite Squadron was honored for outstanding inspections of the Cadet Program and the Emergency Services Program and a certificate for that honor was given to Major Carol Martin, who directs both of those programs at the local unit. Lt Colonel Virgil Martin received the Appreciation Award from the WV Wing Commander for his outstanding work as the local Squadron Commander.
The following cadets and senior members received the Achievement Award for going “above and beyond the call of duty” while serving at the Boone County Fair and/or performing Honor Guard duty at the Boone County Courthouse on Memorial Day: C/Amn Caleb Turner, C/Amn Larry Copen, C/Lt. Col. Jon Ball C/Amn Dalton Wilson, Lt Col Virgil Martin, Maj Carol Martin, Capt. Toni Wrightsman, Lt Col Russell Garrettson, 2nd Lt. Chuck Shultz and SM Lisa Clark.
The evening Banquet revealed the highlight of the day for the local Squadron as members learned that the highest cadet award had been granted to their own Cadet Lt. Col. Jon Ball as the 2013 Cadet of the Year Award. However, for the cadets, the day was not quite over at the end of the Banquet. Following the meal, the cadets were able to let their hair, relax and dance at the annual Cadet Ball held from 10:00 pm until Midnight.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 54 lives in fiscal year 2011. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies.
The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to nearly 27,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 70 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com or www.capvolunteernow.com for more information.
Anyone who wants to learn more about Civil Air Patrol or has a child between the ages of 12 and18 who might be interested in the program, may come to the local squadron meeting on Tuesday evenings at 6:00 pm at the Senior Citizens Building, Lick Creek Road in Danville. That is the building on the left of the ball field. Those interested may also call 369-5150 on Tuesday evenings between 6 to 8 p.m., or visit the Squadron’s website at www.wvboonecap.com for more information.