National News

Ore. Wing Team Returning to StellarXplorers National Finals
Fri, 16 Mar 2018 08:00:00 -0500

One Civil Air Patrol cadet team has earned a return trip to the national finals of the Air Force Association's StellarXplorers IV competition, set for April 28-20 at the 34th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.

The Oregon Wing’s Aurora Composite Squadron 56 team, based in Portland, is one of 10 national finalists in the national STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) competition, which is in its fourth year. The 2017-2018 competition involved 180 high school teams from 31 states and three overseas locations.

The Aurora squadron has made it to the national finals both years it’s participated.


“Congratulations to you for the fine work you have already done,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, CAP’s national commander. “Thanks for representing CAP so well.”

Using Systems Took Kit (STK) from Analytical Graphics, the StellarXplorers program is open to all high school students. The competition is designed to inspire and attract students to pursue STEM careers through hands-on learning about technology by exercising critical thinking skills and emphasizing teamwork.

Teams are provided a self-contained academic/education component accessed online as a curriculum supplement, as well as specific training in the use of system simulation software, STK.

From October through March, the teams progress through three qualifying rounds and a semifinalist round via a challenging space system design competition involving all aspects of system development and operation with a spacecraft/payload focus.

The Aurora team's adult director, Maj. Carl Knox, who also coaches the squadron's CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Security Competition team, is proud of the cadets. With three returning cadets and two new cadets, including the one selected as team captain, Knox said the team has learned the most important aspect of this space-themed, problem-solving program: “Read and understand directions before ever beginning.”

In his role as director, rather than coach, Knox is instructed to provide educational assignments, training and guidance, as well as help develop team esprit de corps. The cadets are guided toward implementing their own team problem-solving skills during the competition.

Members of this year’s Aurora team are:

  • Cadet Chief Master Sgts. Jareck Jellison and Luke Van Sickle, team captain;
  • Cadet Senior Master Sgts. Rhett Miller and Peyton Reed; and
  • Cadet Tech. Sgt. Douglas Clayton.

Clayton, Jellison and Miller are second-year team members; Jellison also competed on the squadron’s CyberPatriot team. Reed and Van Sickle are first-year members.

Joining the team at the national competition, as he did for last year’s competition, will be 2nd Lt. Henry Miller, the squadron’s finance officer.

The finalists receive an all-expenses paid trip to the Space Foundation’s 34th annual Space Symposium for the national competition.

Knox feels his team is “up to the task” to work as a cohesive team at the finals and bring home a first-time national title for CAP.

“We are all rooting for you,” added Smith.

Calif. Unit Fields 2 Natl. CyberPatriot Finalist Teams; Colo. Springs Reaches 8th Straight Finals
Wed, 14 Mar 2018 14:10:17 -0500

Civil Air Patrol has achieved another first in the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Security Competition – two championship round teams from the same unit.

The California Wing’s Fullerton Composite Squadron 56 fielded two cadet teams for CyberPatriot X, and both qualified for the national finals April 16-18 at the Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor Hotel in Baltimore.

In addition, last year’s national champion, the Colorado Springs Cadet Squadron, will be competing in the finals for an unprecedented eighth straight year – this time as the “Wild Card” team. Along with the CyberPatriot IX crown in 2017 for the All Service Division, Colorado Springs’ CyberPatriot IV entry also took the national title in 2012. The squadron team finished third nationally in 2016.

The Fullerton Composite team members are listed below:


"Team Imperium"

  • Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Kayla Kim
  • Cadet Staff Sgts. Clara Kim and Esther Kwon
  • Cadet Senior Airmen Thomas Hoang, team captain, and Stella Hong
  • Cadet Airman Katie Cardella
  • Coach: 1st Lt. Brian Vu

"Team Invicta"

  • Cadet 1st Lt. Daniel Hayase, team captain
  • Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Austin Ahn
  • Cadet Master Sgt. John Garcia
  • Cadet Senior Airman Andrew Ordaz
  • Cadet Airmen 1st Class Simon Kang and Jesse James II
  • Coach: 2nd Lt. Juan Ordaz

“Two teams from the same squadron leading the way for CAP is amazing!” said Susan Mallett, Youth Development and Air Force Association programs coordinator for CAP.

The Colorado Springs Cadet Squadron “Wolf Pack” team consists of:​


  • Cadet Capts. Taylor Coffey, Zach Cramer and Isaac Stone

  • Cadet 2nd Lt. Noah Bowe
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgts. Lexy Belmontes and Natasha Geissler
  • Coach: Maj. Bill Blatchley
  • Assistant Coach: Capt. Amy Griswold

Bowe and Coffey are competing for the fourth straight year, which earns them the program’s Cyber All American Award and makes them the third and fourth members of the squadron to achieve that distinction. Cramer and Stone are third-year finalists, while Belmontes and Geissler are first-year competitors.

CyberPatriot X attracted 5,584 registered teams this year, 27 percent higher than the 4,404-team field for CyberPatriot IX. Of those teams, 1,717 competed in the All Service Division, with entries coming from CAP, the Naval Sea Cadets and Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy Junior ROTC. The remaining teams competed in the Open Division, representing high schools across the country. The Middle School Division includes team from middle schools and junior high schools.

CAP accounted for 630 teams, including 488 in the All Service Division and 142 in the Middle School Division – 19.3 percent higher than last year’s total CAP team count of 528.

In all, 28 teams will compete next month in Baltimore – 13 in the All Service Division, 12 in the Open Division and three in the Middle School Division.

“This CyberPatriot National Finals Competition marks a special milestone of AFA's flagship STEM program,” said Bernie Skoch, CyberPatriot’s national nommissioner. “AFA is thrilled to welcome 28 very special teams of very special young cyber defenders to the culminating event of this 10th season of CyberPatriot.

“Each of them has earned the honor of being a national finalist by distinguishing themselves as the very best of the best in the most competitive rounds of competition in our history.

“We congratulate them and express our deepest gratitude to our volunteer coaches and mentors, to our AFA volunteers and to our generous sponsors who have made this season and all previous seasons possible. We are making a big difference together as we shape America's workforce of tomorrow,” Skoch said.

The finalists will compete to defend virtual networks and mobile devices from the red team – a professional aggressor team of representatives of several of the organizations that sponsor CyberPatriot.

The finalists will face off in three additional competition components: the Cisco Networking Challenge, the Facebook Challenge and the AT&T Mobile Device competition component, all of which return from previous seasons. These extra challenges help broaden the students’ cybersecurity experience and expose teams to new elements of the many career opportunities available to them.

CyberPatriot, the nation's largest and fastest-growing youth cyber education program, is the AFA's flagship STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program dedicated to strengthening student cyber skills. In addition to the national cyber defense competition, CyberPatriot features AFA CyberCamps, an elementary school cyber education initiative, the CyberPatriot Literature Series and CyberGenerations, a program promoting senior citizen cyber awareness.

Supporters of CyberPatriot include the Northrop Grumman Foundation, presenting sponsor, as well as Cyber Diamond sponsors AT&T, Boeing, Cisco, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Microsoft; Cyber Gold sponsors Facebook, Riverside Research, Splunk and Symantec; and Cyber Silver sponsors Air Force STEM, Air Force Reserve, American Military University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Leidos, Mastercard and University of Maryland University College.

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