Mount Vernon Hosts Cyberwarrior

Col. Max Duggan, U.S. Army, lectures cadets of the Mount Vernon Composite Squadron on cybersecurity topics. Photo by SM Kevin Geiss

More than twenty CAP cadets and volunteer officers of the Mount Vernon Composite Squadron gathered this past Thursday to hear a presentation from Colonel William “Max” Duggan.

Col. Duggan is one of the U.S. Army’s top cyberwarriors and is attached to U.S. Army Cyber Command/U.S. 2nd Army (ARCYBER/2nd Army), Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

ARCYBER/2nd Army stood up in October 2010 as the Army’s component to U.S. Cyber Command, which includes units from all military services.

As the director of operations in the Army Cyber Operations Integration Center, Col. Duggan has a key responsibility to ensure unity of effort in daily network operations and defense of all Army networks.

Col. Duggan provided perspective on the growth of cyberspace as a key area of concern for the U.S. military and our nation. In addition to the traditional domains of air, land, sea, and space, our military must now train a new group of professionals to operate effectively across computer and communications networks.

ARCYBER/2nd Army’s role in the cyber domain is to “Operate, defend, and attack,“ said Col. Duggan.

Col. Duggan discussed how many of the same threats the Army addresses on its networks are faced by each of us in our daily lives. Smart phones, email servers, computer laptops, video game systems, and even networked home appliances can be compromised.

The cyber topic was of particular interest to a group of cadets who participated as a team in this year’s CyberPatriot IV competition.

The Air Force Association created the national CyberPatriot competition to excite, educate, and motivate high school students to become part of the next generation of cyber defenders our nation needs.

During the competition, teams are challenged with detecting and reducing vulnerabilities and network attacks/intrusions while maintaining critical computer services.

CyberPatriot simulates the challenges facing information technology professionals (just like the Army’s cyberwarriors) in defending networks against malware, viruses, and hacker attacks.


For more information on ARCYBER/2nd Army click here.

For more information on CyberPatriot click here.




Congratulations Mount Vernon Squadron!!!

The Mount Vernon Composite Squadron was recognized today as a Quality Cadet Unit by the Middle East Region of the Civil Air Patrol.


The MER vice commander, Col Rick Moseley, released the list of this year’s award winners, which included a total of 35 units in the MER. This is the second year in a row that the Mount Vernon Squadron has been recognized for this award.


Thanks go to our squadron commander, Capt John Held, to the leader of the cadet programs, Capt Joe Frech, and to all the volunteer officers and cadets whose dedication and performance have made this award possible. Great job!


In recognition of this achievement, the squadron will receive the Quality Cadet Unit Award streamer for display with the unit flag.  Units that receive the award may also display the 2012 Quality Logo on their unit website and in squadron publications.


All cadet and composite squadrons and flights with a minimum of 10 cadets are eligible. Each squadron is evaluated on various criteria including cadet achievements, orientation flights, cadet retention and encampment completion.


More information on the CAP Quality Cadet Unit award program can be found here – Cadet Quality Unit Program






Cadets Get a Shot at Air Rifles

On January 15 Capt Samuel Abbe hosted a group of Civil Air Patrol cadets at the Izaak Walton League in Centreville, Va., for some expert instruction with competition grade air rifles. Abbe is a cadet parent, a CAP volunteer officer, as well as a top ranked marksman in the U.S. Air Force.

Cadets engaged in a stage of marksmanship training. Photo by SM Kevin T. Geiss

Abbe and IWL staff instructed the cadets about marksmanship fundamentals including shooting positions, techniques and safe operation of the rifles. For many of the cadets, this was their first time shooting a rifle of any kind.

Once the cadets were familiarized with the air rifles on the indoor course, they were able to work on initial marksmanship qualification. To obtain the qualification, each cadet was required to achieve a specific score on the bull’s-eye targets set up 10 meters down range.

“It was fun,” said Cadet Airman First Class Benjamin Geiss. “It was a great opportunity to spend time with [the other cadets] and do something I had never done before – shoot an air rifle.”

Geiss and each of the cadets scored enough points that day to be ranked at the pro-marksman skill level. This ranking is based upon the self-paced Winchester/ National Rifle Association Marksmanship Qualification Program.

Proud cadets gather after completing their marksmanship certification. Photo by SM Kevin T. Geiss

2011 in Review

“Happy New Year Mount Vernon Composite Squadron”.  We ended 2011 with a Squadron Christmas party which included lots of good food, refreshments and of course an opportunity to spend time with good friends.  Thanks to your efforts we sold 43 wreaths in support of “Wreaths Accross America”.  Squadron members helped place the wreaths on the graves at Arlington National Cemetery.

2012 is off to a great start, our website is backup and beginning to take on a new and improved look.  You can expect a banner year with lots of training opportunities, orientation flights and encampments.  I look forward to serving as your Commander in the upcoming year.  Captain John Held..