Aero Pioneers Celebrated in the Cadet Program
Posted on 06/19/2014 at 12:00 AM by Curt LaFond
Have you ever noticed that the thirteen aerospace pioneers who have lent their names to the CAP Cadet Program's achievements and awards hail mostly from the pre-Apollo era? That's because 10 of those 13 individuals were selected in 1964, when CAP leaders decided it was time to reorganize the Cadet Program and revise its original, 1942 curriculum. (Eaker and Armstrong were added in 1998; Feik in 2003).
Consequently, that pantheon of aerospace pioneers does not include individuals who made their name in the previously forty (or so) years.
Perhaps more importantly, there is a moral question that comes into play when we search for heroes to inspire cadets. The current list of 13 pioneers does not include any individuals of color. Have any minorities accomplished notable aerospace feats on par with Curry and Arnold, Lindbergh and Doolittle? Students of aerospace history will readily list several highly-deserving minority aerospace pioneers.
Therefore, the CAP strategic plan calls for the cadet community to name the so-called unnamed achievements in Phases III and IV of the Cadet Program. Look at the Cadet Super Chart and you'll see eight vacancies, eight achievements that are not paired with aerospace pioneers. We have an opportunity to fill those vacancies, and in so doing, recognize aerospace pioneers from the post-Apollo era, while also making a special effort to recognize heroes from communities that earlier generations overlooked.
With that as background, consider the National Cadet Advisory Council's perspective on this opportunity. Read their paper, consider their criteria and their nominations, and sound off with your own thoughtful perspective. We hope to build a consensus and recognize some new pioneers in Phases III and IV sometime in 2015.
Finally, the National Cadet Team gives a special tip of the hat to Florida's Cadet Jason Gordon and family for helping get this overall project started.