Cadet teams from the California, Colorado and North Carolina wings will seek the All Service Division championship this week in the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot XIII National Youth Cyber Defense Competition.
The team from the California Wing’s Fullerton Composite Squadron 56 is returning to the title round, having reached the finals in 2018 and 2019.
The Colorado Wing’s Air Academy Cadet Squadron is making the unit's first appearance on the national stage after competing in the CyberPatriot III finals 10 years ago.
The team from the Union County Composite Squadron in Matthews, North Carolina, rounds out the Civil Air Patrol field after securing the wild-card slot in the 13-team field.
The three CAP entries will face off March 20-21 against each other and the 10 other All Service Division competitors – Junior ROTC teams from each of the military services as well as the Naval Sea Cadet Corps. CAP teams won the overall All Service Division championship in 2011, 2012 and 2017.
Yhe Air Academy Cadet Squadron team consists of:
- Cadet Lt. Col. Jenna Jones (co-captain)
- Cadet 1st Lt. Thomas Zapel (co-captain)
- Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Isabella Olivarez
- Cadet Airman Natalie Feng
“Thanks to a few dedicated cadets, Air Academy Cadet Squadron rebooted the cyber program during CyberPatriot Season VIII,” said the team’s coach, 1st Lt. Donna Fay. “With the help of highly motivated and seriously committed cadets, senior members and technical advisers Air Academy Cadet Squadron has grown our program to what it is today.
“Earning a place at the national finals is a reflection of their teamwork and dedication and I consider it a privilege to be part of it,” Fay said.
The Union County Composite Squadron team members are:
- Cadet Capt. Davy Hallihan, captain
- Cadet 2nd Lt. Mason Wise
- Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Jack Krueger
- Cadet Staff Sgt. Ben Donahue
- Cadet Tech. Sgt. Evan Ambrose
- Cadet Staff Sgt. Ally Davis, alternate
“It was great to see this team pull together, even while dealing with the additional challenge of competing remotely,” said Capt. Rick Hallihan, Union County Composite Squadron coach. “The team really went above and beyond, spending many hours each week outside of our official training meetings in order to deliver their best effort for the competition dates.”
The Fullerton Composite Squadron 56 cadets are:
- Cadet Maj. Kayla Kim, captain
- Cadet Maj. Jesse James
- Cadet 1st Lt. Austin Ahn
- Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Ryan Kim
- Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Chaeeun Kim
- Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Esther Kwon
Technical mentor for the team is Cadet Master Sgt. Thomas Hoang.
“I am extremely proud of our cadets for being able to achieve another opportunity to compete in the CyberPatriot national finals,” said the Fullerton Composite team’s coach, Capt. Brian Vu. “Even through a pandemic, our cadets are still showing great leadership and determination towards great accomplishments.”
“Congratulations to the three CAP national finalist teams for CyberPatriot XIII,” said Maj. Bill Blatchley, who coached national championship teams from the Colorado Springs Cadet Squadron in 2012 and 2017.
In addition to the Colorado Springs teams, A Florida Wing entry took the overall title in 2011. The California Wing’s Beach Cites Cadet Squadron 107 won the inaugural Middle School Division competition in 2014.
The annual competition hosted by AFA challenges teams of high school and middle school students to find and fix cybersecurity vulnerabilities in virtual operating systems. Using a proprietary competition system, teams are scored on how secure they make the system.
A total of 407 CAP teams competed in the All Service Division. Another 114 team registered in the Middle School Division.
CAP once more provided the largest contingent among the 1,414 All Services Division teams, which came from Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps Junior ROTC along with the Naval Sea Cadets..
In the Middle School Division, CAP accounted for nearly 15% of the 754 teams registered from middle schools across the country.