About Us

“Integrity, Excellence, Respect, Volunteer Service”… These are the core values that our members live by…

Challenger 1 Cadet Squadron of the United States Air Force Auxiliary – Civil Air Patrol meets at the Nannie J. Lee Recreation Center in Alexandria, Virginia.  Click here to read about Challenger.

The United States Air Force Auxiliary – Civil Air Patrol is the civilian non-profit component of the United States Air Force.  Its volunteer members perform about 85 percent of all inland search and rescue, and disaster response missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue and Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.  Our members also take a leading role in aerospace education and administer one of America’s finest youth programs, the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program.

As the auxiliary component of the United States Air Force, our members have the opportunity to interact with members of the United States Air Force; United States Air Force Reserve; and Air National Guard.  All of these organizations provide outstanding support and mentoring to our cadets, giving them a complete Air Force experience.

Traditionally, squadrons of the United States Air Force Auxiliary – Civil Air Patrol have 3 core missions: Aerospace Education, Cadet Programs, and Emergency Services (i.e., Search and Rescue, Disaster Preparedness and Disaster Relief).  Challenger 1 Cadet Squadron has a 4th mission of Cadet Honor Guard, having been adopted by the United States Air Force Honor Guard.  In addition to these missions, Challenger 1 Cadet Squadron provides community support by assisting USAF Security Forces at various special events.

“Challenger One…Second to None…”

Capt Bebe Finkenstaedt – Commander & Public Affairs Officer

1st Lt Justin Strait – Deputy Commander

Lt Col Caleb Nimmo (Col, USAF) – Testing Officer & Leadership Officer

Col Richard Cooper – Aerospace Education Officer & Logistics Officer

Maj Timothy Thornton –  Advisor to the Commander

2d Lt Ray Kirk – Safety Officer

2d Lt Mac Phillips (TSgt, USAF) – Fitness Officer & Drill Instructor

2d lt Olivia Phillips – Health Officer & DDR Officer

1st Lt Jake Aytes – Communications Officer

1st Lt Mike Dechert – Character Development Instructor

Capt John Fornshell, Ph.D. – Asst. AE Officer & Finance Officer

2d Lt Cindy Halim – Supplies, Finance & Asst. Testing Officer

1st Lt Elizabeth Haynes – Congressional Gold Medal Awardee/Historian

Quality Cadet Unit Award – 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Squadron of Merit
MER Col Dion E. DeCamp Ground Team of the Year Award
NatCap Wing Aerospace Education Activity Award – 2016
NatCap Wing DDR Activity Award – 2016