Cadet receives Millenium Sword of Friendship award

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz presents the 2010 U.S. Air Force Cadet of the Year award to Air Force Academy Cadet Christopher J. McCool during a ceremony May 12, 2011, at the Pentagon. Cadet McCool earned the honor for demonstrated excellence in military skill, academics and athletics in an Air Force commissioning program. (U.S. Air Force photo/Andy Morataya)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz presents the 2010 U.S. Air Force Cadet of the Year award to Air Force Academy Cadet 1st Class Christopher J. McCool during a ceremony May 12, 2011, at the Pentagon. Cadet McCool earned the honor for demonstrated excellence in military skill, academics and athletics in an Air Force commissioning program. (U.S. Air Force photo/Andy Morataya)

Marcus De Ferranti presents a gift to Air Force Academy Cadet Christopher J. McCool during a ceremony May 12, 2011, at the Pentagon. The ceremony was held to honor Cadet McCool, the 2010 U.S. Air Force Cadet of the Year. Mr. Ferranti was representing the Air Squadron, a private British organization that established the award in 2000 to pay tribute to the U.S. military for its support of the United Kingdom over the years. (U.S. Air Force photo/Andy Morataya)

Marcus De Ferranti presents a gift to Air Force Academy Cadet 1st Class Christopher J. McCool during a ceremony May 12, 2011, at the Pentagon. The ceremony was held to honor Cadet McCool, the 2010 U.S. Air Force Cadet of the Year. Mr. Ferranti was representing the Air Squadron, a private British organization that established the award in 2000 to pay tribute to the U.S. military for its support of the United Kingdom over the years. (U.S. Air Force photo/Andy Morataya)

Air Force Academy Cadet Christopher J. McCool addresses the audience during a ceremony May 12, 2011, at the Pentagon. Cadet McCool was recognized as the 2010 U.S. Air Force Cadet of the Year at the event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Andy Morataya)

Air Force Academy Cadet 1st Christopher J. McCool addresses the audience during a ceremony May 12, 2011, at the Pentagon. Cadet McCool was recognized as the 2010 U.S. Air Force Cadet of the Year at the event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Andy Morataya)

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley, Air Force Academy Cadet Christopher J. McCool and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz stand for a photo during the 2010 U.S. Air Force Cadet of the Year ceremony May 12, 2011, at the Pentagon. Cadet McCool earned the honor for demonstrated excellence in military skill, academics and athletics in an Air Force commissioning program. (U.S. Air Force photo/Andy Morataya)

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley, Air Force Academy Cadet 1st Christopher J. McCool and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz stand for a photo during the 2010 U.S. Air Force Cadet of the Year ceremony May 12, 2011, at the Pentagon. Cadet McCool earned the honor for demonstrated excellence in military skill, academics and athletics in an Air Force commissioning program. (U.S. Air Force photo/Andy Morataya)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The newest name engraved on the Millennium Sword of Friendship in the Pentagon is that of a student at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., who was presented with the 2010 U.S. Air Force Cadet of the Year Award here May 12.

During a ceremony hosted by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, Cadet 1st Class Christopher J. McCool garnered the recognition for demonstrated excellence in military skill, academics and athletics in an Air Force commissioning program.

The Air Squadron, a private British organization, established the award in 2000 to pay tribute to the U.S. military for its support of the United Kingdom over the years. The group presented the sword to the Air Force that same year, as a symbol of the enduring British-American partnership.

In his remarks, General Schwartz lauded Cadet McCool's myriad achievements.

"Aristotle once said that we are what we repeatedly do," General Schwartz said. "Cadet McCool has consistently excelled as a scholar, as an athlete, and in the military aspects of his training."

General Schwartz said the award does not just recognize the past accomplishments of Cadet McCool, who is assigned to Cadet Squadron 05 and will be commissioned as a second lieutenant when he graduates May 25.

"This award is really about promise and potential," the general said. "The United States Air Force will benefit from the promise and potential of this young leader in just a few weeks."

Cadet McCool, who holds a 3.97 grade point average, distinguished himself as wing athletic non-commissioned officer, element leader and wing director of operations at the Academy, according to his award citation.

He oversaw the largest intramural sports program in the country, involving more than 3,200 cadets. Cadet McCool was also selected to attend Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., to pursue a master's degree in public policy.

The cadet spoke of his teachers and teammates in describing his journey to success.

"I'm definitely grateful for the many people who have helped me along the way," Cadet McCool said. "I don't understand why I'm here ... because the things I've done are the same things that several other cadets, not only from the Academy but from other commissioning sources, do on a daily basis. It's been an honor and a privilege."

Representing the Air Squadron, Marcus De Ferranti expressed gratitude to the Air Force and to Cadet McCool for inspiring future generations.

"We pay regular thanks to individuals who give inspiration through their actions, their example and their excellence to future generations," Mr. De Ferranti said. "On behalf of the Air Squadron, I'm very proud to present him with the sword today, and I hope he'll keep in touch with us for at least a generation."

The Air Squadron was founded in London in 1966 by a group of friends who shared a passionate interest in flying light aircraft. Organization officials also award cadet-of-the-year honors to the top cadet at Royal Air Force Cranwell, training site for RAF officers and cadets of the South African Air Force.