Twin brothers in the South Carolina Wing’s Coastal Charleston Composite Squadron have been honored with Civil Air Patrol’s top cadet achievement, the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award — presented to them by another Spaatz award recipient, Maj. Gen. Edward D. Phelka, CAP national commander and CEO.
Newly promoted Cadet Cols. Andrew Derrick Rowe and Samuel Harris Rowe received their awards from Phelka in a ceremony near the Gold Star Memorial at Patriot’s Point in front of the USS Yorktown. Joining Phelka and the brothers were Col. Chris Peterson, South Carolina Wing commander, and Lt. Col. George Stanley, wing director of cadet programs
Also in attendance for the presentation, followed by a dinner at the Rowe family’s home in Mount Pleasant, were nearly 140 friends, family, and Civil Air Patrol members.
In addition, State Rep. Joe Bustos presented the pair with proclamations from his office signed by Speaker of the House Murrell Smith. Present as well was U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace, whose grandfather, Capt. Lowell C. Jamison,
was a World War II-era member of the New Jersey Wing’s Newark squadron — a family relationship to Civil Air Patrol she said helped her understand the magnitude of the brothers’ accomplishment.
Phelka, who spent time on the Yorktown with the brothers beforehand, spoke of their differences as individuals and their strengths and experiences grounded in CAP’s four core values — excellence, integrity, volunteer service, and respect.
He focused on their achievement in earning the Spaatz award at the same time, referring to them as each other’s wingman, haling it as an accomplishment not just by individuals but also by the Rowes’ family, squadron, and wing.
Challenging the brothers to continue serving, learning, and achieving, Phelka tasked the brothers to use their talents to give back to the squadron and the wing.
The brothers joined Civil Air Patrol with friends as cadets in the Connecticut Wing’s Royal Charter Squadron in Hartford in October 2017. They transferred to the Coastal Charleston squadron the following September.
Their younger brother, Cadet 1st Lt. Jackson Rowe, is also a squadron member. Their father, 2nd Lt. Jeffrey B. Rowe, is assistant officer for cadet activities and for testing.
Both brothers have served as the Coastal Composite Squadron’s cadet commander, and they worked with a team of fellow cadets in 2020 plan and develop a video on sUAS (small Unmanned Aerial Systems) that placed first in the National Agility Prime Competition.
Andrew Rowe represented the South Carolina Wing on the Mid-Atlantic Region’s Cadet Advisory Council, and he was recognized as the wing’s Cadet Officer of the Year for 2020. He earned his private pilot certificate July 30 through Civil Air Patrol’s Cadet Wings program.
He also served as cadet commander for the 2022 wing encampment, leading a staff of nearly 50 along with about 80 cadets.
He is attending Clemson University, majoring in mechanical engineering and participating in Air Force ROTC.
Samuel Rowe is a 2021 graduate of the Mid-Atlantic Region Honor Guard Academy and served as cadet deputy commander of operations during this year’ wing encampment. He was named Distinguished Graduate of the National Glider Flight Academy in Tullahoma, Tennessee, this summer, during which he completed his pre-solo and solo flights.
A CAP scholarship recipient, he is attending Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina, majoring in marketing through the business school.
Less than one-half of 1% of CAP cadets earn the Spaatz award, named after the first chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force. It recognizes those who have demonstrated excellence in leadership, character, fitness, and aerospace education in devoting an average of five years to progressing through 16 achievements in the CAP cadet program.
The final step is a four-part exam consisting of a challenging physical fitness test, an essay exam testing the cadet’s moral reasoning, and comprehensive written exams on leadership and aerospace education. Those achieving the award also attain CAP’s highest cadet rank, cadet colonel.
Capt. Rachael Mercer
Public Affairs Officer
South Carolina Wing