Teen takes first step to the moon | SummitDaily.com

Teen takes first step to the moon

Special to the Daily Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Laura Reichardt (left) of Summit Cove received the Civil Air Patrol Gen. Billy Mitchell Award and was promoted to cadet second lieutenant. Presenting the award was Lt. Col. Edward Phelka, director of cadet programs for the Colorado Wing of Civil Air Patrol. The award was presented at the awards ceremony at the Evergreen Composite Squadron on Monday.

SUMMIT COVE Laura Reichardt knows that before she shoots for the moon, she has to take certain steps on Earth.Reichardt, a 15-year-old Summit Cove resident, joined the Civil Air Patrol as one of the first steps to reaching her goal of being an astronaut. Last week, the Civil Air Patrol in Evergreen promoted her to cadet second lieutenant. She also received the Gen. Billy Mitchell Award, which is the second milestone out of four in the cadet program. Only 15 percent of cadets earn the award annually.

“It’s recognition that you’ve progressed into becoming a good leader,” said local civil air patrolman Andrew Rajca.Reichardt passed exams testing leadership theory and aerospace topics, as well as physical fitness. She also had to participate in unit activities and meetings once a week in Evergreen.

Her leadership skills come out – even in an interview. She speaks quickly and firmly and has no problem articulating her ideas.”Ever since I’ve joined Civil Air Patrol, I’ve continued to move up in leadership,” Reichardt said. “I have modified my style. I used to be authoritarian, but I’m more laissez-faire now. People chafe under authoritarian style.”

She plans to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the Mitchell Award makes her eligible for advanced placement in the grade of E-3 (Airman First Class) in the U.S. Air Force. It also makes her eligible for college and flight instruction scholarships.”I want to be an astronaut,” Reichardt said. “I go outside, and I look up at the sky, and I say, ‘Gosh, why aren’t we on planets out there?'”

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