by Senior Master Sgt. Ray Lloyd
107th Airlift Wing
Niagara Falls Reserve Station
Once again the 107th Airlift Wing steps up. This time it's to mentor our young Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps at Lewiston-Porter High School.
The mission is called CyberPatriot. It is the premiere national high school cyber defense competition created by the Air Force Association to inspire high school students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines critical to our nation's future.
Members from the 107th Communications Flight offered their exceptional technical skills to the young cadets. The 107th's unique experience in cybersecurity provided a good way to give back to the community by mentoring future Air Force officers. "They have the computer expertise to pass on to the students for the competition that we are in, which is a cyber computer defense competition," said Col. Lance Dickinson, Lew-Port JROTC commander.
The 107th Communications Flight has been training and enhancing their cybersecurity skills for the Air National Guard. Utilizing their years of experience, Chief Master Sgt. Mark Grier, plans chief; Master Sgt. Joel Micoli, cyber technician; and Staff Sgt. Brad Gilder, cyber technician, volunteered to help the high school cadets.
Cybersecurity is a real threat facing the U.S. today. Teaching the high school students how to combat vulnerabilities gives them the opportunity to see how the Air National Guard helps to prevent these attacks. "This has been a terrific opportunity for us to utilize our skills in a different way, while helping our local community," Grier said. "Working with Col. Dickinson and these future airmen has been a great experience. I hope we can continue this relationship in the future."
The competition will be held on Nov. 2 and 3 with more than 1,200 teams across the county. Competitors must be at least 13 years old and in grades 9-12 and there must be at least two students to form a team but no more than five. The team has an adult coach and the 107th members are working as advisors to the team. They meet with the students once a week at Lew-Port to provide technical training and guidance, while preparing them achieve to the goals of the team. "I think it's pretty cool to have the Air Force here to help us," said Brian Boyd, cadet airman, Lew-Port JROTC. Boyd is one of the three members on this high school team.
"I like the Air Force and I want to be in it," said Ashlee Roell, cadet first lieutenant, Lew-Port JROTC.
The National finals will be held on March 14 and 15, 2013, in National Harbor, Md. With the help of the 107th Airlift Wing the students hope to achieve that goal. "I'm honored to be working and learning along with the Air Force and hope someday I will be along their side when I'm older," said Cadet Airman First Class Matt O'Connor, Lew-Port JROTC.