Squadron plans for national CyberPatriot competition

Courtesy photo: Two members of the Big Sioux Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol, prepare for the CyberPatriot competition.

BROOKINGS – Big Sioux Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol is organizing a CyberPatriot team for the upcoming national competition season. Middle school and high school students are welcome to participate, but they must attend three of the squadron’s weekly meetings and become a member of Civil Air Patrol prior to competing. No previous cybersecurity experience is necessary.

Civil Air Patrol is the civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force, providing local, state, tribal and national agencies with air and ground operational mission support, fostering aerospace education, and offering a youth program, known as the Cadet Program.

CyberPatriot, as noted on their website, “is the National Youth Cyber Education Program created by the Air Force Association to inspire K-12 students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation’s future.”

In six previous years (Seasons IV, V, VI, VII, XI, and XII), teams from Big Sioux have advanced to the CyberPatriot national finals and tested their skills against other teams from across the country. Big Sioux’s cadets have not only had the opportunity to compete in various cities in Maryland, but have explored educational sites such as Northrup Grumman and others.  

Cadet Captain Isaiah Klosterman has competed in the national finals twice (Seasons 11 and 12) and plans to be a member of Big Sioux’s CyberPatriot team again this season. “This competition is a great way to develop technical skills you will use throughout the rest of your life,” said Klosterman.

Currently, the only other team in East River South Dakota registered for the upcoming CyberPatriot season is from Tea Area School District. Rushmore Composite Squadron, in Rapid City, has also registered for this CyberPatriot season. Big Sioux members are excited to give students the opportunity to learn and develop their skills in cybersecurity again this year.  

“CyberPatriot provides an excellent close-to-real-world environment that gives competitors a place to practice their cyber skills and the competition aspect serves to increase their excitement and motivation to learn,” said Captain Tyler Gross, Big Sioux’s commander. “It’s a great program, serving to both increase participants’ general cyber knowledge and hopefully spark the interest of future cybersecurity experts.”

Big Sioux Composite Squadron meets every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at 413 W. Second St. S., Brookings. Adults (18-plus) interested in becoming involved with Civil Air Patrol may contact the squadron commander via email at [email protected] Youth interested in joining the cadet program (over age 12, but younger than 18) may contact the deputy commander of cadets, 2nd Lt. Rudy Trias, via email at [email protected]

Three promoted in squadron

BROOKINGS – Three members of Big Sioux Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol have been promoted, based on their service and advancements in training.

Senior Member Rudy Trias of White was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. He serves as deputy commander of cadets in the Big Sioux Composite Squadron. In the CAP Emergency Services program, he is qualified to serve as a mission scanner, mission observer, and airborne photographer. A senior member must serve as 2nd Lieutenant for 18 months, receive a technician rating in at least one specialty track (specific to their officer position), and take various online modules and exams in order to achieve 1st Lieutenant. Senior member promotions require a considerable amount of effort and occur less often than promotions in CAP’s youth program, known as the Cadet Program. First Lieutenant Trias must serve in his new rank for 30 months before promoting to Captain.

Cadets Tysen King, of Volga, and Levi Murray, of Brookings, both successfully completed Achievement Number 3 in the CAP Cadet Program.

In recognition of this accomplishment, they both received promotion to the rank of Cadet Senior Airman. Their achievement honors Mary Feik, who was a strong proponent of aviation, aerospace science and outer space exploration. King and Murray, with their current qualifications, are able to participate in Civil Air Patrol search and rescue operations as well as a broad range of other CAP activities.

The CAP Cadet Program develops young leaders, ages 12 and up. Cadet members are challenged and rewarded with the confidence, self-worth, and accomplishment that comes from rising to the occasion and making a real and measurable difference.

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