Brian Williams Finds His Calling In Search And Rescue

Jillian Risavi and Ali Durkin

Associate Producers


Since the 1960s, the Civil Air Patrol, a branch extending from the United States Air Force for kids age 12-20, has consisted of more than 50,000 cadets all throughout the U.S. Fewer than 1 percent of those cadets earn the General Carl Spaatz award, one of the highest honors in the program. Yet, one of Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s very own students made the cut: senior Brian Williams was presented with the award on Dec. 27.

Williams, now referred to as Cadet Colonel Brian Williams, entered this program at age 12, after seeing it advertised at the New York State Fair. After being introduced to the program and all the different things it had to offer, he became interested in learning more about its aerospace engineering and emergency services aspects. His primary service is search and rescue, as aircontrol is of lesser interest to him.

Williams commutes to Albany twice a week, where he is stationed, as this is the closest outpost to him. He also goes to a once-a-month Saturday session. He spends at least two hours in meetings and classes that contain lessons and training courses, which consist of drills and information that could be used in real life scenarios. He also participates in physical fitness activities. Over the last six years, Williams has been serving across the Northeast, climbing the ladder and his efforts were recognized earning him this award.

Throughout this program, he says he has found himself growing and developing into the person he is today. He has learned better communication skills, public speaking skills and confidence through this program. One way that he improved these skills was speaking with veterans. “This is my favorite part about being in the program ,since I learned many things about the veterans that even their relatives didn’t know about,” said Williams.

Williams excelled in all areas of the program, therefore he became qualified for the award.

As the future nears, Williams plans to carry the skills he has acquired along with him as he will study physics and forensics at Hilbert College where he has been accepted. Hilton, in Buffalo, NY, specializes in forensics science. Williams plans on applying his future knowledge of forensics science to search and rescue and hopes to possibly make a career out of it.