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Grim Reapers grant Fam Flight to CAP Cadet

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shanice Williams-Jones
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Civil Air Patrol Cadet Colonel Zane Fockler, Mildenhall Cadet Squadron cadet, was awarded an F-15 familiarization flight by the 493rd Fighter Squadron to recognize his successes and give him a glimpse into his dream of being a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Jan 10.

Fockler is a recipient of the highest prestigious award in the CAP, the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award this month. This award is presented to cadets who have demonstrated excellence in selected core tasks though devoting an average of four years to progress through 16 achievements in the CAP Cadet Program.

“It’s been my dream since I was little and I’m so humbled that I was able to earn such a generous honor,” Fockler said. “I remember when I first heard about the Spaatz award and thought, ‘It would be amazing to get that’, it never occurred to me that it was unattainable.”

The CAP program’s mission is to transform youth into dynamic Americans and aerospace leaders. Cadets can promote to ranks as high as Cadet Colonel by completing tasks in areas of leadership, aerospace, fitness, and character.

“When Zane sets his mind to something, you can believe that he’s going to do it,” said Kelli Fockler, Lakenheath Elementary School educator, and mother of Zane Fockler. 

Fockler was one of the first cadets of the young Mildenhall Cadet Squadron that serves the Lakenheath, Feltwell and Mildenhall communities since its activation on March 2, 2015. CAP was just the beginning of this journey according to Zane. He also enrolled in the Air Force Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps where he became the UK-073 AFJROTC Corps Commander before graduating high school.

“Dedication to your goals and progression is how you make it to the top. You can take a break if you need it. I did before going to college, but the trick is to get back into it,” Zane said. “Some of my old friends from LHS are still in CAP and I’m so excited for them when they earn an achievement. Having a community like this one pushes you to keep getting better and better so you can be the best version of yourself.”

Recognizing that his dedication wasn’t the only factor to his success, Zane shared his gratitude for the Liberty Wing educators and mentors that helped guide him.

“I just want to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone that helped me get here, I really couldn’t have done it without them. I’m especially grateful to my parents. I’m so grateful they chose me to be their son and no amount of ‘thank yous’ will ever really express how much they mean to me,” Zane said. “I also want to say a special ‘thank you’ to RAF Lakenheath. This has been my home my entire life and it was an honor to fly in my home base F-15.”