Cadet Col. Jonathan Ernest
Photo courtesy of Tammy Gentry, Looking Glass Photography
1st Lt. Cheryl Ernest
Public Affairs Officer
Chilton County Composite Squadron
ALABAMA – Cadet Col. Jonathan Ernest of the Chilton County Composite Squadron has earned the Gen. Carl A Spaatz Award, Civil Air Patrol’s highest cadet achievement, attained by less than one-half of 1 percent of all cadets.
Ernest, who joined CAP in July 2004, was honored as the Alabama Wing’s Cadet of the Year for 2009. He attended the Air Force Pararescue Orientation Course in 2009 and graduated as Honor Cadet, and he attended the Advanced Pararescue course in 2010. He also graduated as Instructor/staff for search and rescue training at the state level and became a mission radio operator and mission staff assistant for emergency services.
In 2011 he attended CAP’s Civic Leadership Academy in Washington, D.C., and he was chosen as cadet commander of that year’s Alabama-Mississippi Wing Encampment. He participated in the International Air Cadet Exchange Program in 2012.
Ernest is senior at Auburn University Montgomery and is on track to graduate this spring with a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership, with minors in philosophy and criminal justice. He has been a member of the Clanton, Ala., Police Department Auxiliary program since 2008 and this fall was accepted into the department’s reserve program.
He was presented the Blue Knight Award for courage and bravery during the performance of duty while protecting others while subject to imminent personal danger and harm in July 2012.
His career goal is to become an investigator for the FBI.
CAP cadets qualify for the Spaatz award after devoting an average of five years to progressing through sixteen achievements in the CAP Cadet Program. The final is a four-part exam consisting of a physical fitness test, an essay exam testing moral reasoning, a comprehensive written exam on leadership and a comprehensive written exam on aerospace education.