JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas --
Eighty-three Airmen from 20 units across 24th Air Force competed in the first-ever 24th AF Cyber Competition in San Antonio, Texas, from June 3-7.
The event first pitted mixed-, and then whole-unit teams against one another in offensive and defensive cyber battle throughout the week, all with one goal in mind.
“This competition provides our cyber community the opportunity to showcase their talents in a cyber environment, as well as teach and learn from others across the 24th Air Force,” said Tech. Sgt. Andrew Gogue, 688th Cyberspace Wing Weapons and Tactics NCO in charge.
Hosted by Gogue’s team, this year’s inaugural event evolved from 2018’s 67th Cyberspace Wing Cyber Competition. A large gymnasium served as the converted battleground where, from computer consoles linked to a virtual game environment, participants engaged in a cyber capture-the-flag for the prize of having their names etched on the cyber cup.
To gain points teams had to own, operate and protect various services within the game environment. Several of these services provided a physical confirmation when captured, as lights flashed or alerts chimed across the room. Teams could even control the music streaming overhead. At the conclusion of play the team with the most points was named the winner.
“This is a great competition because it introduces offensive, defensive and network operators to operators and operations outside their domain,” said Gogue. “The mixed-team competition really enabled this relationship building.”
To keep the mixed-team competition fair, Gogue employed a fantasy football-like approach to building the teams.
“We had people draft the mixed-team players,” said Gogue. “Before the competition each person had to provide a short biography, outlining their expertise and certifications. And we required that each team have at least one 67th and one 688th member, with no more than five players. Then we hosted a draft day to create the teams.”
The mixed-team competition was an event highlight for one participant.
“It gave me the opportunity to teach others who had very little cyber experience,” said Tech. Sgt. Alex Hand, 315th Cyberspace Operations Squadron, Detachment 3 operations superintendent. “I gave my teammates pointers so they could learn on their own. And some of them even scored a few points.”
This year’s winners are:
Mixed team (drafted by Master Sgt. Justin Neumann, 688th Operations Support Squadron)
First place: Capt. Kevin Cooper, 33rd Network Warfare Center; and Staff Sgts. Austin Cundiff, 315th Cyberspace Operations Squadron; Thomas Burright, 90th COS; Dustin Randler, 690th Network Support Squadron; and Christopher Lewis, 92nd COS
Second place: Capt. Paul Jordan, 390th COS; 1st Lt. Benjamin Selormey, 561st Network Operations Squadron; Tech. Sgt. Michael Aasen, 42nd COS; and Staff Sgts. Houston Smith, 835th COS; and Anthony Trull, 26th NOS
Third place: Capt. Anthony Canino, 390th COS; 1st Lt. Alex Resnick, 83rd NOS; Master Sgt. Doyce Powell, 690th NSS; Staff Sgt. Jacob Coburn, 834th COS; Preston Kemp, 38th Engineering Squadron
First place: 390th COS – Capts. Anthony Canino, David Musielewicz and Paul Jordan, and Tech. Sgt. Zachary Stoll
Second place: 33rd NWS – Capt. Kevin Cooper, Staff Sgts. Joseph Pisano, Dalton Ireland and Samuel Kimmons, and Senior Airman Kyle Dillon
Third place: 90th COS – 1st Lt. Daniel Fitzgerald, Staff Sgts. William Kreiser, Bryce Delewski, Darius Scott and Thomas Burright
According to Gogue, he’s already planning for next year’s competition.