Top Civil Air Patrol Cadets in Spotlight at National Cadet Competition

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After one-year hiatus, prestigious CAP inspection and drill event is renewed with year-end competition.

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Civil Air Patrol's very best cadets will be front and center for this competition. These cadets work year-round to get here.

Highly skilled Civil Air Patrol cadets from across America gather in Alabama at year’s end for the 2015 National Cadet Competition, renewing a prestigious CAP inspection and drill event that originated nearly 70 years ago.

Scheduled for Dec. 30-Jan. 2 at Maxwell AFB, the competition will be held in front of special guests that include senior U.S. Air Force and CAP personnel.

“Civil Air Patrol’s very best cadets will be front and center for this competition,” said Maj. Gen. Joe Vazquez, CAP’s national commander and chief executive officer. “These cadets work year-round to get here.”

Started in 1947, the National Cadet Competition has inspired generations of cadets to strive for excellence. Last year, the event was postponed in order to expand it beyond its inspection and drill emphasis and make the competition more “squadron-friendly” and accessible to each of CAP’s 1,000 cadet units nationwide.

Returning after a one-year hiatus, the new competition has been reduced to teams of six cadets, and the menu of competitive events is much more diverse so there’s something sure to interest everyone.

“Whereas the previous competition focused on military drill, the new model includes model rocketry, a fitness circuit, public speaking, team leadership problems and more,” said Curt LaFond, director of cadet programs at CAP National Headquarters. “At the national-level event, 96 cadets are participating, but the true measure of the new model’s success will be in its ability to attract more teams at the wing and region levels in the years to come.”

The 96 cadets competing in the 2015 competition earned the right to attend by winning local, state and regional competitions. Each of CAP’s eight regions are represented, as well as the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah and Virginia.

Cadets will be competing on six-member teams, demonstrating skills in events that involve precision and teamwork. These skills include indoor and outdoor color guard challenges, a written test of leadership and aerospace knowledge and a Jeopardy!-style game, a physical fitness test, an obstacle course-like fitness challenge, public speaking, model rocketry, team leadership problems(group problem solving challenges) and a uniform inspection.

Judges will be faculty from the U.S. Air Force Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Academy.

The winning cadet team takes home the Air Force Chief of Staff Sweepstakes Award Trophy. Second- and third-place team trophies will also be presented, along with individual awards for cadets competing in several categories, including top written score and fastest mile-run time.

“We’re glad that the National Cadet Competition is back!” exclaimed activity director Lt. Col. Grace Edinboro. “Our cadets and their senior leaders look forward to this event. So it is great for us to be together again, this time for an exciting, new year-end competition at Maxwell.”

The National Cadet Competition is one of 50 National Cadet Special Activities, or NCSAs, sponsored by CAP in 2015. Each NCSA allows young men and women ages 12 to 20 to hone their skills in specific areas like search and rescue, flight and emergency services, science, leadership fundamentals, citizenship and military courtesies, and gives them the opportunity to explore aerospace technology and aviation careers.

Last year, more than 1,500 youth participated in CAP-sponsored cadet activities.


Civil Air Patrol, as the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 58,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Total Force role, performs about 85 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 70 lives annually. Its unpaid professionals also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. Performing missions for America for the past 74 years, CAP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit for more information.

CAP contacts:
Julie Debardelaben
334-953-7748, ext 250
334-549-2224 (mobile)

Steve Cox
334-953-7748, ext. 251
334-296-5881 (mobile)

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Julie DeBardelaben
Civil Air Patrol
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