Alexandria cadets in the Civil Air Patrol were honored Feb.8 at a ceremony at the Alexandria Covenant Church.

Cadet 2nd Lt. Alaina Walsh received the Billy Mitchell Milestone Award. This award marks the completion of Phase II in the cadet program and the end of the cadet’s journey as a non-commissioned officer.

Cadets who have received this award have completed the requirements needed for the ranks of cadet airman to cadet chief master sergeant. In order to receive this award, the cadet must have shown excellence in leadership, fitness and character, as well as taken a closed-book comprehensive exam of both leadership and aerospace. They must also complete a week-long training encampment.

During the ceremony, the Alexandria Civil Air Patrol’s first cadet commander position was awarded to Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Benjamin Kakac. The cadet commander position stands at the epicenter of the squadron. Being in the commander position is an enormous test of leadership skill, especially one’s ability to articulate a vision and point all cadets toward meaningful goals.

The Feb. 8 ceremony also honored another first for the squadron – the new color guard team.

According to 2nd Lt. Rebecca Walsh, the public affairs officer, the new team has been working hard on learning all the details needed to properly perform ceremonies that will benefit the community.

At the beginning of the awards ceremony, the color guard team posted the colors for the first time. The team hopes to use its skills to honor the flag and the country at more community events and celebrations.

The cadets in the Alexandria Civil Air Patrol Squadron have been assigned other leadership roles, as well, including the following:

  • Cadet 2nd Lt. Walsh will be the cadet deputy commander and cadet aerospace officer.

  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Faith Johannes of Alexandria will be the cadet activities and emergency services officer.

  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Harry Dunn of Sauk Centre will be the cadet safety and supply officer.

  • Cadet Airman 1st Class Taylor Johnson of Hoffman will be the cadet public affairs officer.

  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Kakac will remain the Color Guard commander.

In the three short years of the Alexandria Composite Squadron, Walsh said the progression of cadets into leadership roles marks a big step in progress. She said adult members will be taking a mentorship role as the cadet leadership team steps up to making decisions for the squadron.

Cadets have expressed their excitement with doing more flying and conducting the search and rescue training.

“With the leadership training that the Civil Air Patrol cadets receive, all the cadets in the squadron have the ability to gain skills that they will use for the rest of their lives,” said Walsh.

To learn more about the Civil Air Patrol in Alexandria, visit