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The Butte cadet program provides a rich legacy for present and future cadets. The Butte Composite Squadron, since its charter over forty years ago, has worked to develop youthful leaders with the cadet program. The program has contributed to the careers of hundreds of young adults, both civilian and military. Former cadets are now engineers, teachers, pilots, police officers, mechanics, managers, and supervisors. Many enlisted in some branch of the military. Cadets have received Army or Air Force ROTC scholarships. Some even received appointments to West Point and Annapolis.

Twice, the Butte unit was designated a Squadron of Merit Award for having the finest cadet program in Montana. It was the first unit in Montana to be named a Squadron of Distinction for having the paramount program in a five state region that includes Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming. Only one other program in Montana, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, has received this award. Cadets from Butte have represented Montana in ground team portions of region search and rescue competitions. They are the only cadets from Montana to do so. The squadron received an award from the Montana Wing Commander due to the dedication and actions of its cadets and senior members during a week long search and rescue mission.

As part of the Air Force team, cadets have flown in KC-135’s, helicopters of all types, jet trainers, and Cessna’s. They have watched an ICBM launch and flown over the Bering Strait. They have visited Colorado, Alaska, Utah, New Mexico, Washington, Washington DC, England, and Sweden. They have rappelled, located ELT’s, and finger printed youngsters. They have learned to drill and have provided countless color guards for both civilian and military groups.

The squadron cadet program is challenging and exciting. It is a program where cadets are trained to be leaders that have a high sense of duty and ethics. It is a program where the boundless enthusiasm and innate abilities of our cadets are used to help others and assist the community. It is a program where cadets are provided with opportunities to learn about and experience the aerospace environment. It is a program where cadets see themselves as volunteer members, and representatives of the Air Force. It is a program where cadets increase their self-confidence and self-image so they truly aspire and strive for success. It is a program that is well disciplined without being overbearing. And, maybe most important, it is a program that’s fun.

This vision cannot be realized without a strong commitment to integrity. Moral values are important in everyone’s life. This is especially true for leaders. Since we wear the same uniform as the Air Force, we are associated with them. For these reasons, we must follow a higher standard than the general public. Our individual and organizational integrity must be above reproach. This cannot, and will not, be compromised. Ever.

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