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50th Vietnam War Cadet Essay Contest

May 17, 2023

50th Vietnam War Cadet Essay Contest

 (Honolulu, Hi) –  On May 17, 2023, at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, the Association for the United States Army at their annual LANPAC Symposium & Exposition and the Hawai’i chapter of Military Order of Foreign Wars presented two of Hawai’i Wing Civil Air Patrol cadets with an award for their submission of their essay on the Vietnam War.

Cadet Chief Master Sergent Mitchell Johnson from Maui Composite Squadron took first place, wrote, "Struggles Make Us Strong," which recounted the wartime service of his grandfather, Col. Harold E. Johnson who was an electronic warfare officer (EWO) on the F-105 Thunderchief, conducting SAM suppression operations against the Communist north Vietnamese forces until his plane was shot down by a surface to air missile.  Colonel Johnson was captured and endured 2,135 days of imprisonment in the Hanoi Hilton prison”.

Cadet Senior Master Sergent Elizabeth Gillaspie from Maryknoll Cadet Squadron took third place writing on the story of service of her grandfather Lieutenant Colonel Richard Gillaspie, who served with the U.S. Military Advisory Command Vietnam (MACV) from 1968 to 1969 and survived the war.  

Presenting the cadets with their awards was retired General Robert Brown, who distinguished service in the United State Army stated, “It is great to see the Hawaii Chapter promoting the study of military history among the Cadet programs here in Hawaii.  This is the 3rd time that I have had the opportunity to congratulate the winners in person.  All three cadets discovered more about their grandfathers and their war service and their commitment to duty, and in that process of research and writing took inspiration from it.  This is a great example of how AUSA promotes the study of military history, and so congratulations to the Chapter for this program, which will run until the end of the 50th Vietnam Commemoration in 2025.”


About Civil Air Patrol
Established in 1941, Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and as such is a member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 555 single-engine aircraft and 2,250 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and performs about 90% of all search and rescue operations within the contiguous United States as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Often using innovative cellphone forensics and radar analysis software, CAP was credited by the AFRCC with saving 108 lives last year. CAP’s 58,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief, and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state, and local agencies. As a nonprofit organization, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace education using national academic standards-based STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education resources. Members also serve as mentors to 24,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs.

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Tagged As: Award Ceremony Cadets Hawaii Wing

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Press Contact:

Civil Air Patrol, Hawaii Wing
2d Lt Janel Fujinaka
Mobile: 1+ 808-222-4783

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