U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Douglas H. Owens with Cadet Cols. Joshua L. Prevel (center) and John Gomez-Simmons.
TEXAS – The Shoemaker Composite Squadron recently recognized a pair of Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award recipients from its ranks: Cadet Cols. John Gomez-Simmons and Joshua L. Pravel.
Presenting the cadets with their awards – the highest available to Civil Air Patrol cadets, achieved by less than one-half of 1 percent of all cadets – was U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Douglas H. Owens, vice commander of the Air Education and Training Command at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph.
Gomez-Simmons is the squadron’s cadet emergency services officer. He previously served as cadet commander for two separate terms and as assistant instructor for the unit’s drill team. He was also the first flight commander for the squadron’s Bravo Flight and served as the unit’s flight sergeant.
Gomez-Simmons was the squadron’s Cadet of the Year for 2008 and 2011 and received the Air Force Association Award earlier this year.
He served on six encampments in the Texas Wing as line staff and on the standards and evaluations team. He graduated from all four schools of the wing’s Cadet Training and Education Program and twice instructed the wing’s Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy. He was chosen Line Staff Honor Cadet for the 2008 Summer Encampment.
At the national level, Gomez-Simmons graduated from the U.S. Air Force’s Pararescue Training Orientation Course at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., and plans to attend the Advanced Pararescue Orientation Course in 2013.
He plans to use his skills and training gaining through CAP to pursue a career in the search and rescue field.
Like his fellow Spaatz recipient, Pravel also served two separate terms as the Shoemaker squadron’s cadet commander. In addition, he served as the unit’s element leader, flight commander, deputy cadet commander, advanced flight commander and leadership officer.
Pravel attended seven encampments – six by the Texas Wing and one by Florida Wing, serving as a flight commander and squadron commander. He was deputy commander of the 2010 Winter Texas Wing Encampment and the 2011 Summer Florida Wing Encampment.
Along with being named the squadron’s Cadet of the Year for 2010, he was honored as Distinguished Graduate of Officer Training School in 2008, Cadet Officer School Seminar’s Distinguished Graduate and Top Speaker in 2010 and Florida Wing Encampment Outstanding Executive Staff Cadet last year.
Pravel participated in National Blue Beret in 2009, Cadet Officer School in 2010 and the International Air Cadet Exchange in 2010 and 2011, visiting Canada and the Philippines, respectively.
He is studying chemistry at Baylor University in pursuit of a medical career in the Air Force, and he’s also an officer candidate in ROTC Detachment 810 at the university.
Cadets qualify for the award after devoting an average of five years to progress through 16 achievements in CAP’s cadet program. The final step a cadet must complete to earn the award is a rigorous four-part exam consisting of a challenging physical fitness test, an essay exam testing their moral reasoning, a comprehensive written exam on leadership and a comprehensive written exam on aerospace education.