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Leesburg Composite Squadron Holds Cadet Change of Command

January 24, 2023

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The Leesburg Composite Squadron of the Virginia Wing, Civil Air Patrol held their semi-annual change of command on January 24th, 2023. The command of the squadron’s cadet corps passed from Cadet Major Ty Nicholsen to Cadet Captain Alec Garcia. This is an important event as it has both symbolic and operational importance. The change of command ceremony represents the official transfer of power from one capable leader to the next. At the moment when the unit guidon passes from the outgoing cadet commander to the squadron commander, and from the squadron commander to the incoming cadet commander, a new leadership team takes responsibility for the unit.

During the ceremony, the unit’s deputy commander of cadets, Lieutenant Colonel Scott Nicholsen, spoke to the cadets about the importance of leadership, growth and taking on responsibility as a C.A.P. cadet. After the official change of command, the squadron commander, First Lieutenant Shannon Smith, echoed Lt. Col. Nicholsen’s words on leadership and character. Finally, the former cadet commander, Cadet Major Ty Nicholsen, gave an outgoing speech to the squadron touching on key achievements of the term. Next, the current cadet commander, Cadet Captain Alec Garcia sets his expectations and intent for the term.

Following the ceremony, Cadet Capt. Garcia recognized the new members of the command team. The positions are as follows: Cadet Major Maddelyn Thornton as Cadet Deputy Commander of Operations; Cadet First Lieutenant Phillippe Tjahya as Cadet Operations Officer; Cadet First Lieutenant Leila Hamza as Cadet Deputy Commander of Support; and Cadet Major Seth Nicholsen as Cadet Great Start Commander.

Next, the new command team announced the new cadet staff for the term. Operations, support, and line staff were called out, with section commanders and flight commanders taking control of their cadets. Thus, the change of command was officially complete. Now, the new staff will begin to operate in their new roles learning and training together.


About Leesburg Composite Squadron

The Leesburg Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol is home to approximately 250 cadet and senior members. The squadron meets at the Virginia Army National Guard Armory in Leesburg, Va. on Tuesday nights from 1900-2100. For more information on the Leesburg Composite Squadron, visit the squadron’s webpage at and Facebook page at

About Virginia Wing

The Virginia Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, with 22 squadrons spread throughout the Commonwealth has approximately 1,800 members, 12 light aircraft, and 29 multi-purpose vehicles. These assets are available to federal, state and local governments, emergency responders and law enforcement agencies to perform search and rescue, homeland security, disaster relief, humanitarian assistance and counter-drug missions. For more information on the Virginia Wing, visit the wing’s website at and Facebook page at

About Civil Air Patrol

Established in 1941, Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and as such is a member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 555 single-engine aircraft and 2,250 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and performs about 90% of all search and rescue operations within the contiguous United States as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Often using innovative cellphone forensics and radar analysis software, CAP was credited by the AFRCC with saving 108 lives last year. CAP’s 58,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief, and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state, and local agencies. As a nonprofit organization, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace education using national academic standards-based STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education resources. Members also serve as mentors to 24,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs.

For More Information:

1st Lt. Shannon Smith <>

Written by Cadet Colonel William Heppding

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