Cadet Col. William Small with Maj. Gen. Timothy Reisch (left), adjutant general of the South Dakota National Guard, and Col. John Seten, South Dakota Wing commander.
Photo by Capt. David Small Jr., South Dakota Wing
2nd Lt. Dorothy M. Rosby
Public Affairs Officer
South Dakota Wing
SOUTH DAKOTA – Cadet Col. William Small of the Lookout Mountain Composite Squadron has earned Civil Air Patrol’s highest cadet honor, the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award, presented to him Aug. 10 by Maj. Gen. Timothy Reisch, adjutant general of the South Dakota Air and Army National Guard during a ceremony at Camp Rapid.
Small is only the 10th South Dakota Wing cadet to earn the award.
In making the presentation, Reisch said the time and effort associated with achieving the award will serve the cadet well in his adult pursuits and has helped prepare him for higher leadership. Reisch also presented Small with a South Dakota National Guard Major General Challenge coin, noting that these mementos are given only rarely and only to those who have significant accomplishments.
On average, only two cadets in 1,000 earn the award, named for Carl "Tooey" Spaatz, the first chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force.
To qualify for the Spaatz award, cadets spend an average of five years progressing through 16 achievements levels and developing self-discipline, personal responsibility and the ability to lead. The final step is a rigorous four-part exam that includes a physical fitness test, an essay exam testing moral reasoning, and comprehensive written exams on leadership and aerospace education.
"When I became an officer I started thinking about the Spaatz award some and came to the conclusion that I was not the right type of person for that,” said Small, a home-schooled high school sophomore. “Then as I came closer to it, I realized I became that type of person …
“I am amazed at how going through the cadet program has changed me to the extent that I was able to earn the Spaatz award," he said.
Small’s father and squadron commander, Capt. David Small Jr., said his son dedicated himself to earning the distinction. “William has always been self-motivated and was frequently seen studying from a binder that he put together with all of the Spaatz study material,” he said. “As recently as June 2012, William was studying Spaatz material while vacationing on an Indonesian beach.”
Col. John Seten, wing commander, who was also on hand for the ceremony, said, “Cadet Col. Small is very active with the South Dakota Wing, and it comes as no surprise to me that he has earned his Carl A. Spaatz award.
“His dedication is a great reflection upon himself, his squadron, the South Dakota Wing and the United States of America.”