Cadet Katherine Johnson of the Hernando County Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol, was recognized recently for earning the Amelia Earhart Award. The award is one of the highest in the cadet program and is given to cadets who complete a rigorous course of study that includes leadership, character development, aerospace education, and physical fitness. Only a small percentage of CAP cadets reach the Earhart Award milestone, which is accompanied by a promotion to the rank of Cadet Captain.
The award was presented by Florida Wing Vice Commander LTC Daia Jung in a ceremony at the Hernando County Composite Squadron Headquarters building on August 1st.
Johnson has been a CAP cadet for nearly three years and joined the CAP cadet program at age 15. She will be leaving the squadron this month for college as a student at the University of Texas but plans to transfer to a Civil Air Patrol squadron in Texas in order to complete the cadet program.
Cadet Johnson’s parents, Richard and Kelly Johnson, along with her brother Sean, have also been active members of the local Civil Air Patrol squadron for several years. The family lives in Spring Hill and considers CAP a great way for the family to give back to the community. Katherine’s mom Kelly said the family is very proud of her accomplishment. “It is something she has worked very hard for. It has been one of her goals to achieve the Earhart before she leaves for college,” she said. “She’s really happy because now her younger brother has to salute her,” Kelly said with a laugh.
Cadet Johnson will be leaving the Hernando Squadron after serving as the Cadet Deputy Commander for Support. Hernando County Squadron Commander Jaimie Williamson said, “Cadet Johnson has been an integral part of the squadron, serving in command and staff positions. She has been an enthusiastic participant in squadron activities. She has worked to mentor and inspire junior cadets, and her absence will be felt by all. “
It’s a huge honor to have been able to grow in the squadron and see the growth in myself and the people around me. It’s incredible to see how the squadron has changed in the last three years. I’m going to really miss watching my fellow cadets grow and progress, and I’ll really miss watching the cadets starting out. I can’t wait until I can come back on a break and see how they have progressed. Johnson said. She added, “CAP offers a real opportunity for cadets to step outside their comfort zone. I have gained a lot of confidence in skills that I otherwise wouldn’t have.” she said.
Cadet Johnson said she plans to double major in linguistics critical language and international studies, with a specialization in Korean. She plans to become a language teacher, a passion she says she developed while teaching other cadets in the CAP.
The Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the United States Air Force. The organization is tasked with a three-pronged mission of Emergency Services, Aerospace Education, and Cadet Programs. Persons interested in joining the Civil Air Patrol are invited to attend one of the weekly squadron meetings at 6:30 PM on Tuesdays. The squadron meets at 3151 Air Commerce Boulevard, Brooksville, FL 34604.