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High Flying Achievements from Local Civil Air Patrol

By Ryan McNeilly, Captain
24 February 2022


The Civil Air Patrol squadron here in Medina County is starting off the new year in a big way. The Medina County Skyhawks Composite Squadron trains cadets aged 12 and older to become leaders in their community; and they're aiming for excellence as they take statewide accolades. Last year, the unit was recognized as Ohio's top cadet squadron. The Skyhawks were also presented with the Quality Cadet Unit Award for their third year in a row and the Aerospace Education Excellence Award for their eleventh consecutive year.

Cadet Spencer York received the Air Force Association Award for outstanding performance last in 2021.

York—a 16-year-old homeschooler from North Ridgeville, and a CAP member since Fall 2019—has excelled in his personal growth and development as a cadet non-commissioned officer. His regular participation in unit activities, despite the continued COVID-19 pandemic, showcased his reliability in the planning and execution of squadron events such as annual field training and morale-building activities. His willingness to continue to learn and to develop others has been exemplary in the CAP Cadet Program's mission to train young leaders to become servants of their community.

York currently serves as the unit's Cadet First Sergeant, mentoring junior cadet leaders as they continue to advance through the program. He is currently participating in his second season as a member of the squadron's StellarXplorers astrophysics competition, hosted by the Air Force Association. This Spring, the squadron will be participating in the National StellarXplorers Semifinals for its second year. 

Cadet Zurich Begin was declared Ohio's Cadet Officer of the Year.

15-year-old Zurich Begin of Medina has overseen cadet fitness programming and has instructed cadets in project management roles. Each year, the squadron teams up with other units from across Ohio to conduct large-scale field training exercises for which Begin has served as a critical planning officer. At the state level, Begin currently serves as Ohio’s Cadet Activities Officer, developing activities which provide hands-on leadership and training opportunities for the state’s more than 460 cadet members.

Begin joined CAP in 2019 after attending his first squadron meeting on his 12th birthday. From the start, he knew he was destined for the program. He remarked, before even becoming a member, “All I need now is the uniform.” Two years later, he had the privilege to fly aboard his first Air Force cargo plane, a C-17 flown from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, aboard which he received an officer promotion by Colonel Pete Bowden, Commander of CAP’s Ohio Wing. Bowden would later select Begin as Ohio’s Cadet Officer of the Year. Begin was recognized with the following: “His selfless service and dedication to bettering the lives of those around him is unmistakable. The countless hours he has put forth in supporting CAP Cadet Programs has resulted in the sacrifice of time with his friends and family; yet, he continues to seek to produce more and motivates his peers to become more involved both in and out of their home units.”

Today, Begin is a freshman at Medina High School where he serves as a member of the H.O.P.E. Squad campaign to promote anti-bullying and teen suicide prevention. 


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