Twin brothers in the Georgia Wing’s Ellijay Composite Squadron have been recognized with Civil Air Patrol’s top cadet honor, the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award .
Cadet Cols. George Powell and Noah Powell are the sixth Ellijay Composite members – and the third set of siblings — to earn the Spaatz award, all in the last seven years.
Since its inception in 1964, less than one-half of 1% of all cadets have attained the award.
CAP’s national commander/CEO, Maj. Gen. Edward D. Phelka, and national vice commander, Brig. Gen. Regena Aye, attended the presentation ceremony. Phelka and Aye both earned Spaatz awards as cadets. Representatives of the Southeast Region and Georgia Wing were present as well.
The award honors Spaatz, who was the first chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force and the second national commander of Civil Air Patrol. To qualify, cadets must meet a rigorous set of guidelines in the categories of leadership, aerospace, fitness, and character. The award includes promotion to the top cadet rank, cadet colonel.
Noah Powell described the brothers’ journey. “We joined in February 2017 as 12-year-olds,” he recalled. “I had no leadership experience, no public speaking, and no personal bearing.
“I have those now.
“Upon learning about the Spaatz, I immediately set a goal to achieve this highest award. The requirements push your personal limits and help you realize what you can achieve. Civil Air Patrol molded me and encouraged me every step of the way,” he said.
I encourage all cadets to look at this award as a goal.”
George Powell added, “For me, the exposure to all phases of leadership was an unbelievable experience. I felt challenged and rewarded at each step. The required physical fitness portion alone was daunting, but I never let myself think I would do anything but succeed.
“That goal got me started, but the habits I developed due to CAP kept me going,” he said.
“I’ll continue in life to set goals and use that strategy. There is no end to the good we can do with these skills and dedication.”
Phelka spoke extensively with the brothers before the award presentation. “These two young men are an inspiration and a reminder of how Civil Air Patrol encourages us all to give back,” he told those assembled during ceremony. “As twin brothers, they inspired each other in tandem, supported by their family, squadron, and a host of other CAP members who touched their lives.
“This squadron is truly unusual, with six Spaatz winners,” Phelka said. “That is quite a record. And all these recipients will affect the world in a very positive way.”
The squadron’s previous Spaatz recipients were Cadet Cols. Robert G. Mallinak in April 2015 and Mellissa N. Mallinak in November 2016 and Leland Q. McAbee in January 2021 and Kay B. McAbee in February 2021.
1st Lt. Alysia English
Director of Public Affairs