Congratulations 2LT. Drew Robles!
December 21, 2019
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 Mitchel Award. This is a remarkable achievement that only about 15 percent of cadets achieve. It takes hard work, perseverance and dedication to the Cadet Oath. From the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) website, Stripes to Diamonds,
"Mitchell Award recipients are eligible to attend Cadet Officer School and the Civic Leadership Academy. 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 Lt. Robles on December 3. This was a roughly a month after earning his rank and settling into his new role. Drew is 17 years old, and 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 skills he learned in Boy Scouts of America (a sister organization).
He joined CAP in May 2016 when he was 14. He learned about it at the Country Oaks Spring Festival, at the CAP recruiting booth, from Lt. Agold (Squadron Commander), and former Cadet Caleb Agold. He knew them from Krav Maga martial arts, but did not know them personally. 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 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 Steminar leader this past summer. Early on in CAP, he attended Basic Cadet school where he learned the basics of Cadet life. He then attended Encampment (a two week long mini military boot camp), completed all of the Learn to Lead and Aerospace curriculums as part of his achieving 2LT.
Drew says he has grown as a person, has developed good character, now has good communication skills, and self-confidence. He used to be shy, but now has no problem engaging in public speaking, and it has helped with school oral presentations. He also had the confidence to take on Squadron leadership roles and to speak at Non-Commissioned Officer School this past November.
His long term CAP goals are a bit up in the air. His family may be moving and he intends on attending flight school after high school and then 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."
In terms of what he would like people (youth, parents, other adults) to know is that CAP is good for character development, leadership and communication skills. There are aerospace and aviation opportunities, exploring career fields, learning the hierarchy of leadership, opportunities with STEM and engineering. You grow as a person, learn to be a good member of society, and it helps you develop relationship skills that he says will serve him well in terms of marriage, family, and career.
Drew's favorite parts of CAP are the chances and 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 forged bonds of teamwork to ensure success of your team.
His final words were, "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."
Again, the Squadron would like to tell him congratulations on a remarkable achievement, his contributions to our squadron, and we wish him success in his future endeavors.