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Rutland-area teen wins Civil Air Patrol award

NORTH CLARENDON, Vt. - Civil Air Patrol cadet Brennan Kidder, age 14 of Benson, Vt., received the prestigious U.S. Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell Award for his achievements in the CAP cadet program.

Commander Steve Rabideau, captain CAP, of the Civil Air Patrol's Rutland Composite Squadron, presented the award to Kidder and promoted him to the grade of cadet second lieutenant.

"Cadet Kidder is an outstanding young man," said Commander Rabideau. "He has progressed rapidly as a cadet and has demonstrated strong leadership skills. He has also shown a long-term commitment to Civil Air Patrol and our community. He is an excellent role model for young people everywhere."

Cadet Kidder's parents and family helped pin the new rank insignia to his uniform during a recent ceremony held at the Rutland Southern Vermont Regional Airport.

Cadet Kidder's parents are CAP senior members. The cadet's father, Tech. Sgt. David Kidder of the Vermont Air National Guard, is a CAP second lieutenant; the cadet's mother, Kathy Kidder, is a CAP second lieutenant.

The Gen. Billy Mitchell Award recognizes cadets who successfully complete the first two phases of a rigorous four-phase CAP cadet program. The award has existed since 1964 and honors the late Billy Mitchell, aviation pioneer, advocate, and staunch supporter of an independent air force for America.

Cadet Kidder is a homeschooled student. He is interested in attending the U.S. Air Force Academy and pursuing a career in the military as an officer.

The Rutland Composite Squadron, Vt.-009, meets at the Emergency Response Center at the Rutland County Airport every Thursday at 6 p.m. The squadron has an active cadet and senior program. The purpose of the cadet program is to train members - between the ages of 12 and 21 - in leadership, aerospace education, and emergency services.

The senior program involves adults 21 years of age and older and meets weekly for aerospace education training, emergency services training, and planning in support of the Vermont Wing of the Civil Air Patrol.

CAP, the auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with nearly 56,000 members nationwide. It was established on Dec. 1, 1941. Today it performs 90 percent of the continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions. It was credited by the U.S. Air Force with saving 103 lives in 2007. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counter drug missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to the more than 22,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program.

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