HORSEHEADS - Civil Air Patrol’s Twin Tier Cadet Squadron recently participated in the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot Competition for the third year.

Mitra Pratt, a Civil Air Patrol spokesman, said despite having a mostly rookie team, it scored higher than the previous year’s squadron and made it to the semifinals.

“The crowning achievement was scoring first in New York State for the Service Division,” Pratt said.

​CyberPatriot 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 disciplines critical to our nation’s future.

Pratt said at the core of the program is the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, the nation’s largest cyber defense competition that puts high school and middle school students in charge of securing virtual networks.

The team led by Major Jason Balliet consisted of four cadets, Cadet Senior Airman Anthony Melville, Cadet Second Lieutenant Lucas Pratt, Cadet Master Sergeant Gabriel Losito, and Cadet Airman First Class Tyson Terwilliger.

Pratt said each cadet had specific areas of concentration to streamline the competition from securing Windows and Linux computers to virtual networks.

CyberPatriot equips students to better protect themselves on the Internet and teaches students skills that can be used in college and the workforce.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 57,000 members nationwide, Pratt said. CAP performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 90 lives in fiscal year 2008.

Pratt said CAP volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counterdrug missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies.

The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 22,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs, Pratt said. CAP has been performing missions for America for 67 years.

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