Darlington Civil Air Patrol cadet honored

The Billy Mitchell Award, which marks the completion of Phase II of the Civil Air Patrol’s four-phase cadet program, was recently presented to Cadet 2nd Lt. Trae Ann Proell of Darlington, the Cadet Commander of the Florence Composite Squadron, which meets at the Florence Airport.

The “Father of the Independent Air Force,” 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 Gen. 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 week-long encampment immersing them in a challenging Core Values and STEM environment.

Mitchell cadets who enlist in the Air Force enter the service at the advanced grade of E-3, Airman First Class. 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.”

Proell has been a member of the Civil Air Patrol for three years, she has attended two Wing Encampments and served on the Logistics team at this past summer’s encampment.

She has attended Non-Commissioned Officer Academy, Region Cadet Leadership School and MAR-Warrior Challenge.

She is a sophomore in high school, where she is a member of the National Honor Society and the Darlington High School girls’ golf team. She is also active in her church, Cornerstone Baptist Church, where she is a youth leader in the children’s department and has participated in two mission trips.

Author: Rachel Howell

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