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McGuire Squadron takes 8th place in first round of CyberPatriot competition

posted Dec 2, 2021, 5:50 PM by William Petzinger

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST (Oct. 24, 2021) – A team comprised of eight cadets in Civil Air Patrol’s Maj Thomas B. McGuire Composite Squadron placed 8th on Sunday in the first round of Cyber Patriot’s state competition. The team competed against other Civil Air Patrol squadrons and hundreds of middle and high schools in the state.

“McGuire’s cadets are learning a great deal about tools and techniques used for system security and network defense,” said 1st Lt Hazel Cerra, the squadron’s Cyber Patriot officer and mentor who conducts training sessions to help cadets prepare for competition. “They are developing vital skills for careers that are in high demand.”

 Throughout the competition the McGuire team fixed vulnerabilities on both Windows and Linux operating systems. Cadet Master Sergeant Jake Cahill, the team leader, worked on Cisco; Cadet Technical Sergeant Katherine Clayton worked on Linux; and Cadet Master Sergeants Allyson Kittel and William Mares and Cadet Airman First Class Cassidy Kittel interchangeably worked on both Windows 10 OS and 2019 Windows Server.

 “The key for cadets is knowing how to go into a computer operating system and shut down certain services or install a firewall or strengthen a server without disturbing the system as a whole,” said Lt Cerra.

CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program created by the Air Force Association to encourage students in careers such as cyber security and in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

 After the competition, Cadet Master Sergeant Cahill expressed appreciation for his team’s achievement.

 “The amount of knowledge required to compete in Cyber Patriot is considerable,” he said. “After taking 8th in state, I just want to say, I’m proud of all the work we did.”

 The McGuire Composite Squadron meets at the Kish Airman Leadership School on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst on Monday evenings, 6:30-9 p.m. Cadets can join Civil Air Patrol between the ages of 12 and 17 and can stay in the cadet program until age 21. Adults 18 and over can join as senior members. More information about Civil Air Patrol can be found at gocivilairpatrol.com. For information about the McGuire Composite Squadron visit www.mcguire.njwg.cap.gov or call Maj Bill Petzinger at (609) 306-0966.

 Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90 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 80 lives annually. CAP’s 60,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. In addition, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to over 25,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs.

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