The United States Air Force Auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol, Squadron 46 Tehachapi is proud to announce that Cadet Drew Robles has achieved the rank of Cadet 2LT and the Mitchell award. This is a remarkable achievement met by only about 15 percent of cadets. It takes hard work, perseverance and dedication to the Cadet Oath.
"Mitchell Award recipients are eligible to attend Cadet Officer School and the Civic Leadership Academy," according to the Civil Air Patrol website, Stripes to Diamonds. "If they choose to enlist in the Air Force, they may enter at the grade of E-3. The award is looked upon favorably by admissions staff at AFROTC and the USAF Academy. Mitchell Award recipients who become CAP senior members are eligible to enter at the grade of 2d Lt."
I spoke with Robles on Dec. 3, roughly a month after he earned his rank and settled into his new role. Robles, 17, is a senior at Valley Oaks Charter School. He is a member of the Build-a-Plane Program with the Tehachapi Society of Pilots, and the only original student member since the program started. His career goals are to be a commercial airline pilot. He believes CAP built upon the earlier skill he learned in Boy Scouts of America.
He joined in May 2016 when he was 14. He learned about it at the Country Oaks Spring Festival, at the CAP recruiting booth, from squadron commander Lt. Agold and former Cadet Caleb Agold. They introduced him to CAP, Encampment and O-Rides (orientation flights), and it sounded fun to him. He had never flown before and wanted the experience and that is when he found his interest in being a pilot.
As a cadet, he has been an active member of the Squadron Color Guard. The Guard attended the Honor Guard Academy at the Air Force Academy last fall, graduated, and are all Honor Guardsmen, under his command. The trip there and back was his first commercial airline flight experience. Up until then he had had the opportunity in the organization to fly in C-17s, experience zero-Gs, been in Blackhawk helicopters, attend Aerospace Summer Camp at Edward Air Force Base (now Aerospace STEM Academy), and be a seminar leader this past summer. Early on in CAP, he attended Basic Cadet school. He then attended Encampment (a two-week-long mini military boot camp), and completed all the Learn to Lead and Aerospace curricula as part of his achieving 2LT.
Robles says he has grown as a person, and developed good character, good communication skills and self-confidence. He used to be shy, but now has no problem engaging in public speaking. He also had the confidence to take on squadron leadership roles and speak at Non-Commissioned Officer School in November.
His long-term CAP goals are a bit up in the air. His family may be moving, and he intends to attend flight school after high school, and then look to being a senior member in CAP once his career is established. He said it is a “good way to give back to the program” as it “helps train the next generation of leaders.”
His favorite parts of CAP are the opportunities for flying in military aircraft as the zero-Gs in the C-17 were “awesome.” He loves the friendships he has developed, leadership skills, the shared struggles at Encampment, and forced bonds of teamwork to ensure the success of your team.
“I feel like I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t join CAP, and I’m glad I joined when I did," Robles said.
The squadron congratulates him on a remarkable achievement, his contributions to our squadron, and we wish him success in his future endeavors.
2LT Shannon Loftus is acting public affairs officer and squadron historian.