A local team of Civil Air Patrol cadets from the Youngstowns ARS Composite Squadron, named Team Hercules, headed to the Washington, D.C., area March 13-18, as finalists in the national championship round of CyberPatriot V-The National High School Cyber Defense Competition. Team Hercules was in the top 1 percent of CAP teams across the nation as competitors in the final round.
The competition season began with more than 250 Civil Air Patrol teams, which was narrowed down over three competitive rounds. The Youngtown team was one of only three CAP teams to compete in the finals. While the team did not bring home the first place trophy in the nation, they are the winning team from Ohio and will be recognized as such in the near future by the local chapter of the Air Force Association.
CyberPatriot is a competition geared toward teen-agers that replicates real-life cyber security situations faced by computer administrators. Created in 2008 by the Air Force Association, CyberPatriot provides students hands-on learning about cyber security while exciting, educating, and motivating them to be the nation's next cyber defenders.
Photo special to the Town Crier
Team Hercules takes five on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial last month during a break from the national championship round of CyberPatriot V in Washington, D.C. Team members included, in front: C/Maj Megan Beatty of Austintown, C/2d Lt Andrew Stoneburner, team captain from Lake Milton, and C/SrA Michael Gentile of Niles, and in the back row: C/1st Lt Austen Peters of Poland, T/Tsgt Sean Beatty of Austintown, C/SSgt Brian Hunter Jr. of Masury, and their coach, Major Paul Creed III.
Led by Major Paul Creed III, Team Hercules was one of 14 national finalists for the competition's All Service Division. The team (with their nicknames) consists of Sean "Wise Man" Beatty of Austintown, Megan "GIMPy" Beatty of Austintown, Brian "Bounty" Hunter of Masury, Michael "Gentoo" Gentile of Niles, Austen "FLOPS" Peters of Poland, and team captain Andrew "Bones" Stoneburner of Lake Milton. Major Creed has been coaching the team since last summer with the help of mentor 1st Lt. Brian "Loopback" Stoneburner.
After several grueling days of preparation and competition, Team Hercules took some time to tour the nation's capital. The team got to visit the Air Force Memorial, The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Arlington National Cemetery as well as the monuments and memorials that give remembrance to the veterans of our country.
"After an exciting season of learning about security and vulnerabilities, it was great to use the Metro system to be able to share the memorials from history with the current generation of youth, so that the love of this county and patriotism will be preserved," said Lt. Stoneburner.
CyberPatriot is presented by the Northrop Grumman Foundation, with founding partners SAIC and the CIAS at the University of Texas-San Antonio. CyberPatriot is also a member of the U.S. Cyber Challenge, a national coalition of public-private sector entities collaborating to enhance the workforce with the next generation of cyber security professionals.