Waukesha cadet earns CAP’s highest Cadet Program award
Cadet Olga Boukhvalova became a Civil Air Patrol cadet with a specific goal in mind; attend the Air Force Academy after high school. While she hasn’t reached that goal yet, she recently reached a different impressive milestone; earning the General Carl A. Spaatz Award.
The Spaatz Award, named for the first Chief of Staff of the Air Force, marks the highest award in the Cadet Program. Only one in every 200 cadets earns the award. To earn the award a cadet must first complete all 16 achievements in the Cadet Program. Then a cadet must pass the exam which consists of an aerospace exam, leadership exam, essay, and physical fitness test. Unlike all the other cadet achievements where a cadet may continue to attempt until the pass, the Spaatz exam limits cadets to three attempts. A cadet who does not pass the Spaatz exam in three attempts is disqualified from ever earning the award. Boukhvalova passed the exam on her first attempt and is Spaatz #2055.
Boukhvalova joined CAP just under four years ago. During that time she has had a distinguished cadet career. She attended her first summer encampment at Volk Field in 2013. That same summer she attended the National Emergency Services Academy. The following year she attended the Wisconsin Cadet Academy. Boukhvalova cites her WCA experience as her favorite CAP memory so far, “I do not believe I would have become the leader I am today if I had not attended WCA.” She returned to encampment two more times as cadet cadre, most recently serving as the Cadet Deputy Commander.
Boukhvalova also joined CAP because of an interest in flying. “I fell in love with the sport [flying] from my very first orientation flight, and did everything I could to get back in the sky after I had up all my [orientation] rides,” explained Boukhvalova in thinking about her most memorable CAP experiences. She has gone on to earn her solo wings and continues to work on flight training.
When asked what advice she would give to a new CAP cadet Boukhvalova shared that new cadets should dream big and set big goals. Cadets should realize that it will be a struggle sometimes, but that the only way you fail is by quitting and giving up.