Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta meets (from left) Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Aaron Roach, Cadet Airman Robert Peruzzini and Cadet 1st Lt. Patrick Conte.
Photos courtesy of Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station Public Affairs Department
1st Lt. Matt McNaughton
Niagara Falls Composite Squadron 1
New York Wing
NEW YORK – Three cadets from Niagara Falls Composite Squadron 1 had the opportunity Aug. 9 to meet U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta during a meet-and-greet Aug. 9 at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station with base personnel and local politicians.
The three – Cadet 1st Lt. Patrick Conte, Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Aaron Roach and Cadet Airman Robert Peruzzini – were the only youths included in the restricted conference. Security was high and attendance limited to those with special clearance for admission to the facility.
Each cadet had the opportunity to shake the defense secretary's hand, exchange a few words of mutual encouragement and receive Panetta’s personal challenge coin.
The first secretary of defense ever to visit Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, Panetta spoke of America's continuing commitment to defense and unwavering support for those in uniform.
The only other Civil Air Patrol members present were Lt. Col. John Risio, Western New York Group deputy commander, and 1st Lt. Matt McNaughton, commander of the cadets’ squadron.