In April 2017, as part of its first annual writing contest for Civil Air Patrol cadets, the Virginia Wing chaplain corps honored CAP’s first “air chaplain,” Chaplain (Major General) Robert Preston Taylor, by naming an annual prize for him which honors a cadet that displays grit, perseverance, and spiritual resilience during the past year. The first cadet to receive the “Chaplain Robert Preston Taylor Prize” was Cadet 1st Lt. Cory Moon from the Monticello Composite Squadron. The deputy chief of the United States Air Force chaplain corps, Chaplain (Brig. Gen.) Steven Schaick, and the Virginia Wing commander, Colonel Dean Gould, presented a certificate, a letter of congratulations from the Civil Air Patrol’s Chief of Chaplain Corps, and recognition coins to Moon for her selection.
Moon received the honor for demonstrating outstanding character strength, grit, and the willingness to serve others, putting them first during a time when when she was dealing with significant personal events. During the wing’s 2016 summer encampment, she created and led a Holy Rosary prayer-service for fellow cadets and senior members. The daily, short evening devotion was cited by student cadets as a source for their own personal strength and spiritual resilience during the stress of their first encampment. The prayer session, one of six daily spiritual services held during student private time, was so successful that it was repeated to greater acclaim in 2017. The activity is now considered a staple of the wing chaplaincy’s spiritual offerings.
According to the Virginia Wing chaplain who led the selection committee, “While she was experiencing her own pressures, Cadet Moon focused on serving others and lifted them up by helping them connect to their own faith.”
Taylor is feted as an outstanding example of character strength, faith, and grit, to the 26,000 cadets of CAP. As a young chaplain in the United States Army, he received the Silver Star Medal for gallantry during the Battle of Bataan in the Philippines. He survived the Bataan Death March and 42 months of captivity during World War II. Taylor was in the first group of almost 400 Army chaplains to become chaplains in the new United States Air Force when its chaplain service was created in May 1949. In 1950, Taylor, then a lieutenant colonel, was assigned to Headquarters Civil Air Patrol in Washington, D.C., to stand up and train the new Civil Air Patrol chaplain service. Between 1960 and 1963 he was the USAF Chief of Chaplains.
The Virginia Wing will repeat the writing contest along with the Chaplain Robert Preston Taylor Prize during the 2018 winter months. According to the wing chaplain, all CAP wings are invited to participate and duplicate the program, giving their own Taylor Prize if they wish. For more information on the writing contest and Taylor Prize, read the blog post or email firstname.lastname@example.org.