By 1st Lt. Ruben R. Del Portillo
contributing writer 

Tehachapi Composite Squadron 46 hosts end of year banquet

Tehachapi Composite Squadron 46


December 18, 2021

Mark Corum

Cadets were awarded at the banquet.

Tehachapi Composite Squadron 46 ended the year in spectacular fashion hosting a banquet that included music, dinner, dancing, and an awards ceremony. The squadron set a high standard to end the year by promoting a record breaking ten cadets, three cadets reached their first milestone achieving the rank of Cadet Staff Sergeant, thus receiving the prestigious Wright Brothers Award.

Among those in attendance were the Group Commander for Group 6 of the Civil Air Patrol, Lt. Col. Clifford Chabot, who took time out of his busy schedule to present awards and help promote our cadets. Other notable guests included Ms. Mia Cifuentes from California State Assemblyman Vince Fong's office, Mrs. Vivian Cao, representing State Senator Shannon Grove's office, Mrs. Therese Luther from Tehachapi's The Loop newspaper, Mrs. Clare Scotti from Tehachapi Living Magazine and our Guest of Honor, Mrs. Lara Steinke.

In addition, every cadet and senior member that promoted or received a squadron award, including our guest of honor, received a special certificate from State Assemblyman Vince Fong's office for their achievements and valued service to our community. Squadron 46 was also presented with a special Certificate of Recognition from State Senator Shannon Grove's office for its emergency services work and cadet programs work in our community.

This was truly a great night to remember.

Special awards were presented to:

Mrs. Lara Steinke, who received a Squadron Appreciation Award for her assistance in rebuilding our squadron during and following the COVID-19 global pandemic shutdown. Thanks to Mrs. Steinke, the squadron experienced just over an 800 percent growth and acquired five new Aerospace Education Members (local teachers). Her hard work and commitment to the youth of the community has been greatly appreciated.

Squadron 46 Senior Member of the Year, Major Carl Gehricke, went above and beyond during the height of the pandemic and was able to help the squadron interact with the City of Tehachapi efficiently to assure that the needs of the cadets and our community were being met.

Squadron 46 Cadet Programs Officer of the Year, Captain Sharon Agold, donated countless hours of her time preparing activities, scheduling hybrid and onsite meetings as well as leading character development lessons, and conducting drill and ceremonies classes.

Squadron 46 Cadet Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year, C/SSgt Ryan Megrdle, trained and mentored new cadets as they joined our squadron. His hard work and dedication were evident for all to see at the end of year banquet. Nine of the 10 cadets who were promoted were a direct result of his mentoring and leadership.

Squadron 46 Cadet Volunteer of the Year, C/SSgt Jayden Kaczmarczyk, volunteered over 60 hours of his personal time performing community service. It should be noted that C/SSgt Kaczmarczyk had a full schedule attending school, completing homework, doing household chores and attending squadron meetings during this time. C/SSgt Kaczmarczyk exemplified the core value of volunteer service that is at the root of all that the Civil Air Patrol does for our communities and our nation.

Squadron 46 Cadet of the Year, C/SSgt Jayden Kaczmarczyk, stepped up and assisted the squadron by volunteering to act as the assistant color guard leader. He filled in for the color guard leader at events and during training. C/SSgt Kaczmarczyk worked side by side with his cadet leadership helping to train new color guard members as well as working with the new cadets as they joined the squadron.

Cadet Ribbon Awards were presented to:

Cadet Basic Casey Brummer ll, Cadet Recruiter Ribbon.

Cadet Airman Kendra Clark, Cadet Recruiter Ribbon.

C/SSgt Ryan Megrdle, Cadet Advisory Council Ribbon.

Cadet Promotions were as follows:

Cadet Basic Jonathan Brownell promoted to Cadet Airman

Cadet Basic Kendra Clark promoted to Cadet Airman.

Cadet Basic Spencer Corum promoted to Cadet Airman.

Cadet Basic Loui Nordstrom promoted to Cadet Airman.

Cadet Basic Brendon Okerson promoted to Cadet Airman.

Cadet Airman Brodie Napier promoted to Cadet Airman 1st Class.

Cadet Airman Logan Renehan promoted to Cadet Airman 1st Class.

Cadet Senior Airman Ryan Megrdle promoted to Cadet Staff Sergeant.

Cadet Senior Airman Jayden Kaczmarczyk promoted to Cadet Staff Sergeant.

Cadet Senior Airman Delilah Trejo promoted to Cadet Staff Sergeant.

Congratulations everyone on your promotions and awards.

Mark Corum

Cadets were awarded at the banquet.

The Tehachapi Composite Squadron 46 would also like to thank Father Mark Maxon of St. Malachy Catholic Church for allowing the squadron to have their event at McMullen Hall, the Knights of Columbus-Council 7821 for serving at the banquet, the Megrdle family for their generous donation and finally Tehachapi's very own American Legion Post 221.

Squadron 46 would also like to thank all the cadet parents and the great community of Tehachapi for their continued support. If you are interested in volunteering and helping the young men and women of our community, the squadron is looking for folks with media (press), IT, personnel, and administrative experience to assist it during this period of growth.


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