LONDONDERRY — Just over four and half years after joining the Civil Air Patrol, a 21-year-old college student has joined the elite ranks of Cadet Colonels after completing a rigorous testing process.
Josiah C. Boggs, 21, of Valois, N.Y., was honored in a special ceremony at the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire Friday morning when he was presented with the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award before an audience of friends, comrades and Sen. Kelly Ayotte.
Open to youth between the ages of 12 to 21, the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Cadet Program is a voluntary program that’s aimed at helping young people develop leadership skills, learn about aerospace science and maintain an active presence in their respective communities.
Currently there are about 315 cadets in the Granite State, spread across nine squadrons around the state.
Senior members of the CAP participate in a variety of missions, including homeland security and FEMA operations. During Superstorm Sandy, CAP members took more than 158,000 aerial photographs for FEMA to assist them with damage assessment.
Boggs, a junior at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt., was one of eight cadets to receive the Spaatz Award this year and is the sole honoree from a Granite State squadron. He’s currently a member of CAP’s Greater Nashua Composite Squadron.
The Spaatz Award is the highest honor given to CAP cadets. Since its inception, only eight of the 1,922 recipients have been from New Hampshire.
Boggs, who attended Friday’s celebration with his father, Michael Boggs, said he joined the Cadets in early summer 2009.
The physics major learned he’d passed the exam for the Spaatz award in mid-January, around the same time he celebrated his 21st birthday.
“I was pretty excited, to say the least,” said Boggs.
The testing process took him about six months, with the four-part exam consisting of written tests and physical fitness screenings.
Col. William Moran, wing commander of NH CAP, said he first met Boggs during a New Hampshire and Vermont Wings Summer Encampment, a weeklong program for cadets held on the Norwich University campus each summer.
Moran said the young man immediately made an impression on him.
“It’s more than an award,” Moran said on Friday. “It’s a lifetime achievement.”
Maj. Kevin Harbison, commander of the Greater Nashua Composite Squadron, said he’s worked with Boggs for several years.
“At first he seems like such a studious young man,” Harbison said, noting that Boggs became a cadet a bit later than typical. “But he definitely has a humorous side, too.”
Harbison said he’s enjoyed watching his younger charge evolve into a poised and determined young man, one who serves as a great role model for the younger cadets.
“It’s easy to go out and learn, but it’s not so easy to go out and share your information,” Harbison said. “Only about two out of every thousand cadets we see will earn this award.”
Sen. Ayotte lauded Boggs’ accomplishments.
“I know we’ll see big things from you,” she told him.