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McGuire Squadron Wins State Award in CyberPatriot Competition

posted Feb 6, 2020, 7:14 AM by William Petzinger

MCGUIRE AFB (Feb. 3, 2020) –A team from the McGuire Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol recently concluded an exceptional round of competition in the 12th season of CyberPatriot – the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition. 

Led by Coaches 2d Lt Hazel Cerra and 2d Lt Peter Toth, the McGuire Composite Squadron’s team Cisco Disco excelled in the CyberPatriot Semifinal Round held January 25, demonstrating teamwork, critical thinking skills and technical knowledge key to a successful career in cybersecurity. 

The team's performance earned it the 2nd Place Platinum Award for New Jersey in the All Service Category. The following cadets from the McGuire Composite Squadron participated in the CyberPatriot competition: C/SrA Jake Cahill, C/TSgt Christopher Cerra, C/CMSgt Jessica Hoschek, 

C/CMSgt Joseph Podesta, C/SrA Jenna Skeens and C/Capt Peter Toth Jr.

"Our Cisco Disco team has been working hard for the last 6 months, several hours a week, to achieve this award and maintain an excellent level of competition,” said 2d Lt Cerra.  “I am extremely proud of this team and their accomplishments." 

The Cisco Disco team competed against four other teams from JROTC and other Civil Air Patrol squadrons based in New Jersey and 240 teams competed nationwide. 

Established by the Air Force Association, the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education Program was created to excite, educate, and motivate students toward careers in cyber security and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation's future.

CyberPatriot's core program – the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition – challenges teams of two to six students across the United States, Canada, and from DoDD schools abroad, to find and resolve cybersecurity vulnerabilities in simulated environments. Top teams from the preliminary online rounds win an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC for the live National Finals Competition, where students compete for national recognition and scholarships.

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 61,000 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 26,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs.