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Manteca teen earns prestigious award
McFerran Mitchell Award1
Cadet 2nd Lt Amy McFerran, center, receives the General Billy Mitchell Award. - photo by Photo Contributed
FRENCH CAMP - Civil Air Patrol Squadron 72’s Cadet 2nd Lieutenant Amy McFerran has received the Billy Mitchell Award.

McFerran was presented the award in a special ceremony held at Camp San Luis Obispo on Feb. 15. Presenting her award were Colonel Ken Parris, California Wing Commander, and Lt Colonel Anthony Upton, California Wing Cadet Program Director. C/2LT McFerran, 17, is a resident of Manteca.

She has been a member of the Civil Air Patrol since February 2008. She currently serves as the Alpha Flight Commander and has previously served as First Sergeant, Flight Sergeant and Element Leader. Cadet McFerran is also an active member in the Honor Guard where she serves as Cadet Officer in Charge. Amy attends Sierra High School where she is also active in JROTC and the local police explorers. Recently, Amy learned she has been accepted to the US Naval Academy and US Air Force Academy for the coming school year.

The General Billy Mitchell Award has existed since 1964. This award honors the late Brigadier General Billy Mitchell, aviation pioneer, advocate, and staunch supporter of an independent Air Force for America. Civil Air Patrol, the official Auxiliary of the United States Air Force, has a three-fold mission: aerospace education of the American people, emergency services and disaster relief for those in distress, and the cadet program.

The cadet program provides opportunities for the learning, maturing, accepting, and nurturing of leadership to over 27,000 young Americans from 12-20 years of age. With advice and assistance from CAP members at national, regional, state and local levels and the US Air Force, cadets are exposed to a structured program of aerospace education, leadership, physical fitness, and moral and ethical values.

This structured program is divided into 16 segments called achievements, involving study and performance in the five program areas. Upon completion of each achievement, the cadet earns increased responsibility, decorations, awards, eligibility for national and international special activities, and opportunities for both flight and academic scholarships. Completing many of the achievements also earn the cadet a higher grade. The second milestone of this endeavor is the General Billy Mitchell Award, which is earned after completing the first eight achievements of the cadet program. In addition, the cadet must pass an arduous 100-question examination testing leadership theory and aerospace topics. Since its inception over 30 years ago, over 42,000 cadets have earned this honor.

Being such an important milestone in the CAP cadet program, the Mitchell Award is normally presented by a CAP group commander or higher, the wing director of cadet programs, or a state or federal government official. Once the cadet earns the Mitchell Award, they are promoted to the grade of Cadet 2nd Lieutenant. These cadets, who later enter the CAP’s Senior Member program, are eligible for immediate promotion to CAP 2nd Lieutenant at age 21.

Those cadets who receive the Mitchell Award are also eligible for advanced placement in the grade of E-3 (Airman First Class) should they choose to enlist in the US Air Force. They are also eligible for advanced credit in the Air Force ROTC program. Mitchell Award cadets may also apply for a variety of scholarships and CAP special activities.

Sierra Composite Squadron is located in French Camp at the Sharpe Depot. The squadron has an active cadet and senior program. The purpose of the cadet program is to meet weekly to train members between the age of 12 and 18 in leadership, aerospace education, and emergency services. The senior program involves adults 18 years of age and older and meets weekly for aerospace education training, emergency services training, and planning in support of the California Wing of the Civil Air Patrol.

More information about Squadron 72 can be found on their website at