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​Civil Air Patrol Cadet Col. Matthew Jackson was awarded CAP's highest cadet achievement—the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award—presented by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, officials announced. “We’re recognizing Matt as he joins an elite group,” said Welsh, presenting the honor in a ceremony at the Pentagon, Nov. 9. “Just 0.2—not 2.2—percent of Civil Air Patrol cadets earn the Spaatz award." A total of 2,003 cadets have earned the award since its establishment in 1964. Jackson, who serves with the New Jersey Wing, joined CAP as a 12-year-​old, and spent five years progressing through CAP's 16 cadet phases, culminating in the milestone physical fitness, knowledge, and leadership tests for the Spaatz award. “I feel that this award is a culmination of everything I have worked so hard for in the cadet program," said Jackson in a CAP release. CAP has long been the Air Force's official auxiliary, and was elevated this year as a component of the Total Force when conducting missions in that capacity, alongside Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve airmen.