21:38 PM

SE Region Team from Puerto Rico Takes National Cadet Competition Crown

Additional SE Region Team, Representing Fla. Wing, Takes 2nd Place

Civil Air Patrol cadets from the Puerto Rico Wing, representing the organization’s Southeast Region, finished first today in the 2017 National Cadet Competition at Wright State University near Dayton, Ohio.

Taking home the Air Force Chief of Staff Sweepstakes Award Trophy was the six-member team from the Muniz ANGB Cadet Squadron:

  • Cadet Lt. Col. Kevin E. Negron
  • Cadet Lt. Col. Orlando Rohena
  • Cadet Maj. Joem J. Serrano-Rivera
  • Cadet Capt. Alvin J. Lopez
  • Cadet Capt. Carlos Munoz Hernandez
  • Cadet 2nd Lt. Luis H. Rivera

“There’s nothing like" finishing firest, Cerrano said afterward. "We sacrificed a whole year, and knowing that year wasn’t in vain feels great. We had our ups and downs but knew something greater was coming.”

"No pain, no gain," added Munoz.

Rivera summed up the winning approach in just a few words: "Improve, adapt and overcome.”

The second-place team came from the Florida Wing’s Pembroke Pines Composite Squadron:

  • Cadet 2nd Lt. Jason A. Cain
  • Cadet 2nd Lt. Adam H. Cohen
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Michael Christopher Lambert
  • Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Kyle Timothy Metts
  • Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Diego Alejandro Ochoa
  • Cadet Staff Sgt. Crystal R. Giron

Cadet 1st  Lt. Simon Mahns of the Maryland Wing's Frederick Composite Squadron entry, one of two teams representing the Middle East Region, was honored as Top Performer for the competition.

His teammate, Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Robert Patrick Velte, was recognized for Highest Written Exam.

Individual team category winners were announced as follows:

  • Indoor Drill -- First Place: Grand Rapids Metro Composite Squadron, Michigan Wing (Great Lakes Region); Second Place: Pines-Miramar Composite Squadron, Florida Wing (Southeast Region)
  • Outdoor Drill -- Muniz ANGB Cadet Squadron, Puerto Rico Wing (Southeast Region); Second Place: 111th Search and Rescue Cadet Squadron, North Carolina Wing (Middle East Region)
  • Inspection -- Muniz ANGB Cadet Squadron, Puerto Rico Wing (Southeast Region); Second Place: Hanscom Composite Squadron, Massachusetts Wing (Northeast Region)
  • Written Exam -- Frederick Composite Squadron, Maryland Wing (Middle East Region); Second Place: Pines-Miramar Composite Squadron, Florida Wing (Southeast Region)
  • Physical Fitness -- Pines-Miramar Composite Squadron, Florida Wing (Southeast Region); Second Place: Muniz ANGB Cadet Squadron, Puerto Rico Wing (Southeast Region)
  • Team Leadership Problem -- Frederick Composite Squadron, Maryland Wing (Middle East Region); Second Place: Wentzville Composite Squadron, Missouri Wing (North Central Region)

In all, 96 cadets from 12 wings in all eight CAP regions competed for three days in the prestigious inspection and drill event, which originated 70 years ago.

Started in 1947, the National Cadet Competition has inspired generations of cadets to strive for excellence.

“These are some of Civil Air Patrol’s finest cadets, said Maj. Gen. Joe Vazquez, CAP national commander. “These cadets work all year to get here.”

Cadet Col. Jodie Gawthrop of the Illinois Wing’s Lake in the Hills Composite Squadron, public information officer for the competition, said it “provides cadets with an opportunity to showcase everything they love about the Cadet Program, as well as a chance to epitomize CAP’s core values.”

“It's inspiring to see fellow cadets striving to become stronger, while having fun with what our program has to offer," she said.

“You need full participation and everyone’s ideas to succeed as a team.,” said Cadet Tech. Sgt. Erin Vallee of the Missouri Wing's Wentzville Composite Squadron, the North Central Region team that placed second in solving the Team Leadership Problem.

“Here, it’s not about rank; it’s about experience. It’s been a leadership journey," added Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Jared Kinard, whose Colorado Springs Cadet Squadron team was one of two Colorado Wing entries representing the Rocky Mountain Region.

The cadets earned the right to compete by winning local, wing and regional competitions. In front of special guests that included senior U.S. Air Force and CAP personnel, they competed on six-member teams, demonstrating skills in events that involved precision and teamwork – indoor and outdoor color guard challenges, a written test of leadership and aerospace knowledge, a physical fitness test, team leadership problems (group problem-solving challenges) and uniform inspection.

Each year, CAP National Headquarters also chooses electives for the competition that represent all aspects of cadet life. This year, teams carried out a service project before the competition and also participated in geocaching, robotics, public speaking, a “Jeopardy!”-style contest and a test of color guard drill.

Judges included members of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Honor Guard, as well as CAP officers and cadets.

The cadets were "well-rounded, disciplined, and motivated," said Air Force Senior Airman Shae Plater of the Wright Patterson AFB Honor Guard, a medical logistics technician at the bsse hospital, who served as an Indoor Practical judge."You can tell that this is important to them; it's not just an extracurricular activity ,"

“This is a one of CAP’s major annual cadet events,” said Lt. Col. Robert Shaw, activity director for the competition. “Teams train and compete throughout the year in order to compete against the best. The teams making it to this level are the best each region has to offer.

“Officers and cadets look forward to participating, whether on staff, judging or as a competitor, to carry on the tradition of excellence in all we do,” he said.

In addition to the two Southeast Region teams, the competing teams were:

Great Lakes Region

Michigan Wing
Grand Rapids Metro Cadet Squadron

  • Cadet Capt. Kyle R. VanDenHeuvel
  • Cadet 2nd Lt. Gavin D. Bronkema
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Darian T. Debardelaben
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Dan C. Jauregui
  • Cadet Staff Sgt. Owen Lewis Pyper
  • Cadet Airman 1st Class Randy Michael O’Donnell

Michigan Wing
Maj. Kevin A. Adams Memorial Composite Squadron

  • Cadet Capt. Matthew Bos
  • Cadet Capt. Jonathan Meier
  • Cadet 1st Lt. Nea K. Shaffer
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Liam Joseph Hood
  • Cadet Senior Airman Lukas S. Roark
  • Cadet Airman Kira Anne Shaffer

Middle East Region

Maryland Wing
Frederick Composite Squadron

  • Cadet 1st Lt. Simon Mahns
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Robert Patrick Velte
  • Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Patrick Bulley
  • Cadet Tech. Sgt. Sean R. Elkins
  • Cadet Tech. Sgt. Emily M. Piersall
  • Cadet Tech. Sgt. Ari Ramond 

North Carolina Wing
111th Search and Rescue Cadet Squadron

  • Cadet 1st Lt. Mason L. Berger
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Dylan Dominick Gulla
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Fredy Jeancarlo DePaz
  • Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Isaac Craig Friday
  • Cadet Master Sgt. Elijah David Johnson
  • Cadet Tech. Sgt. Sterling Austin Ware

North Central Region

Missouri Wing
Wentzville Composite Squadron

  • Cadet 2nd Lt. Zachary J. Bray
  • Cadet 2nd Lt. Marc Joseph Fritsche
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Zane Doering
  • Cadet Tech. Sgt. Reagan Marie Hess
  • Cadet Tech. Sgt. Erin Kathleen Vallie
  • Cadet Staff Sgt. Jacob H. Hobbs

South Dakota Wing
Big Sioux Composite Squadron

  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Annabelle Klosterman
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Mariel Klosterman
  • Cadet Senior Master Sgt. David Andrew Willison
  • Cadet Tech. Sgt. Caleb John Hofer
  • Cadet Tech. Sgt. Isaiah William Klosterman
  • Cadet Tech. Sgt. Peter Abraham Willison

Northeast Region

Connecticut Wing
103rd Composite Squadron

  • Cadet 2nd Lt. Joshua J. Roberts
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Michael Sean Brennan
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Jason Edward Noack
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Torin Patrick Vaughan
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Malvina Piziak
  • Cadet Staff Sgt. Loren E. Davis

Massachusetts Wing
Hanscom Composite Squadron

  • Cadet 1st Lt. Elianna Joy Kovalchek
  • Cadet 2nd Lt. Kayla Nicole Driscoll
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Yipei Lu
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Charles Joseph Marchiony
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Adam Brownridge Suski
  • Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Michael David Larios

Pacific Coast Region

California Wing
Diablo Composite Squadron 44

  • Cadet 2nd Lt. Andrew G. Hockel
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Matthew A. Hockel
  • Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Karissa N. Cahoon
  • Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Katia G. Cahoon
  • Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Jordan A. Poloway
  • Cadet Master Sgt. Jackson Tyler Gilliam

California Wing
Skyhawk Composite Squadron 47

  • Cadet 2nd Lt. Nathan J. Bierle
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Brandon F. Wright
  • Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Ian F. Hamnquist
  • Cadet Tech. Sgt. Brenden H. Lopez
  • Cadet Staff Sgt. Anthony W. Shain-Hacking
  • Cadet Senior Airman Alek E. Prom

Rocky Mountain Region

Colorado Wing
Vance Brand Cadet Squadron

  • Cadet 2nd Lt. Memphis K. Thomas
  • Cadet 2nd Lt. Sawyer A. White
  • Cadet 2nd Lt. Tanner G. White
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Jaden Reenan
  • Cadet Tech. Sgt. Hanna Burns
  • Cadet Tech. Sgt. Timothy James Stanford

Colorado Wing
Colorado Springs Cadet Squadron

  • Cadet Lt. Col. Anthony M. Zuniga
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Jared A. Kinard
  • Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Eliasam Sosa
  • Cadet Master Sgt. Emily B. Hardy
  • Cadet Tech. Sgt. Reginald Edward Ash
  • Cadet Staff Sgt. Natasha Elena Geissler

Southwest Region

Oklahoma Wing
Edmond Composite Squadron

  • Cadet Capt. Jacquelyn K. Harsha
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Raymond Savage
  • Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Morgan Robert Lang
  • Cadet Master Sgt. Clara Elizabeth Bruecks
  • Cadet Tech. Sgt. Emily E. Reese
  • Cadet Staff Sgt. Wyatt Anthony Holloway

Oklahoma Wing
Starbase Composite Squadron

  • Cadet 2nd Lt. Bailey K. Lunsford
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Luc A. Felando
  • Cadet Chef Master Sgt. Christian M. Kuerbitz
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Logan X. Kuerbitz
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Ashley D. Sutherland
  • Cadet Senior Airman Zachary A. Sprague