Eric Boe First Flew C172s As A CAP Cadet
Civil Air Patrol Senior Member and Air Force Colonel Eric Boe
will soon achieve what many dream of and few accomplish -- the
chance to travel into space. An astronaut with NASA, he will pilot
the Space Shuttle Endeavour for mission STS-126, his first voyage
Scheduled to launch November 14 from Kennedy Space Center, the
mission is being conducted in support of the International Space
Station. The Endeavour will dock with the station and deliver
supplies to support its expanding needs, including a Multi-Purpose
"I'm very excited to go into space and get the opportunity to
represent the nation," said Boe. "It's a great opportunity to see
what it's like to go into space."
A former Georgia Wing cadet and current Florida Wing member, Boe
said his involvement with CAP as a young man helped him achieve his
career goals of becoming a fighter pilot and an astronaut. Boe, who
soloed at age 16 at a flight encampment conducted by the Georgia
Wing, credits his cadet experience for solidifying his desire to
"That was my first real opportunity to fly an airplane by
myself," he said. "CAP gave me that opportunity, and it really made
a difference in the long term. It's always nice to have flown
before you show up at pilot training."
Boe is the recipient of CAP's Carl
A. Spaatz Award, the highest award cadets can achieve. Only about
one-tenth of 1 percent of CAP cadets achieves this award. Boe is
carrying his Spaatz coin with him into space in honor of his CAP
Boe also credits CAP for expanding his horizons: "I had IACE
(International Air Cadet Exchange) cadets stay at the house," he
noted. The program, now more than 60 years old, promotes
international friendship and understanding through a common focus
on aviation. In 2009, cadets representing 20 countries will visit
CAP squadrons in the US as participants in the IACE program.
"It was good exposure to see people from other countries, and
now I'm working on the International Space Station. I was stationed
in the Philippines in the military and with NASA I was in Russia
for a year with my family. That initial IACE experience gave me a
flavor for the international experiences that I have had so far,"
Boe's military service includes flying 55 combat missions over
Iraq in support of Operation Southern Watch after the Gulf War and
more than 4,000 flight hours in more than 45 different aircraft.
His military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air
Medal and Aerial Achievement Medal.