Civil Air Patrol cadet receives award
The Florence Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol announces the promotion of Cadet Benjamin Petereit of Darlington to the officer rank of 2nd lieutenant. Petereit has also received the Billy Mitchell Award.
Petereit is a senior in high school and is taking dual credits from Francis Marion University. He is also active in his church, Family Worship Center. A few of his responsibilities include being a member of the media/stage team and maintenance teams.
The Billy Mitchell Award, which marks the completion of Phase II of Civil Air Patrol’s Four-Phase of Cadet Program, was recently presented to Petereit, the Cadet Deputy Commander of the Florence Composite Squadron, which meets at the Florence Airport.
The “Father of the Independent Air Force,” Billy Mitchell led an aerial bombing demonstration resulting in the sinking of the surplus German battleship Ostfriesland in 1921. The Navy had said such a feat would be impossible, and the Army remained skeptical toward airpower.
Mitchell continued his all-out public campaign for airpower, even facing court-martial for his persistence. He knew that in the new “aeronautical era,” military airpower, operating independently of ground and sea forces, needed to be the first line of defense. Not until World War II did the full U.S. military establishment realize how right he was. After the Allied victory, and by a special act of Congress, Mitchell was posthumously awarded a gold medal. With Mitchell as their role model, cadet officers know that speaking truth to power is a moral duty.
The Mitchell Award marks completion of Phase II of the CAP Cadet Program, recognizing sustained excellence in all four areas of cadet life: leadership, aerospace, fitness, and character. Further, Mitchell cadets must have passed comprehensive examinations on leadership and aerospace topics and have completed a weeklong encampment immersing them in a challenging Core Values and STEM environment.
The U.S. Air Force respects Mitchell Award recipients’ accomplishments. Mitchell cadets who enlist in the Air Force enter the service at the advanced grade of E-3, Airman First Class. The service also looks favorably upon Mitchell cadets when evaluating AFROTC and Academy applicants.
Once a cadet earns the Mitchell Award, he or she becomes a cadet officer, is promoted to the grade of cadet second lieutenant, and is challenged to lead and serve junior-ranking cadets, while continuing to develop into a “dynamic American and aerospace leader.”