Pfc. Jonathan Boski decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the Connecticut National Guard after graduating from Colchester’s Bacon Academy.
Little did he know that he would carve out a little place in National Guard history for himself.
In November 2018, Boski graduated from Advanced Individual Training for the 17C Military Occupation Specialty, better known as Cyber Operations Specialist.
In doing so, he was the first Army National Guardsman to graduate from the in-demand course, providing the Connecticut National Guard with another valuable asset as it continues to play its role in cyber network defense.
Boski, now 19, spent about a year at his Advanced Individual Training, which meant putting civilian education and life on hold for a little while, but the benefits will be long-lasting.
“Only about 50 percent of applicants were passing the course while I was there,” Boski said. “It was basically three years of higher education condensed into a much shorter time period. There was a lot to learn in a short period of time, but the training is built for you to understand and learn the concepts and build upon those skills.”
Skills, Boski said, that he can take into the real world, applying those lessons learned as a Guardsman assigned to Detachment 1, 146th Network Warfare Team.
His course load saw him take residence at military facilities in Florida and Georgia as he learned the ins and outs of defending the Department of Defense’s critical network infrastructure. While he was not at liberty to discuss the finer points of his training (and with good reason), Boski said that, like a lot of other classroom-based instruction, it is all about giving it your best.
“The instructors and the hands-on training really laid the foundation for your learning, but you have to apply yourself,” Boski said. “You will get exactly what you put into this course.”
Boski’s initial intent was to become an Information Technology Specialist, but when he heard about the opportunities and potential in the Connecticut National Guard’s Cyber Detachment, he jumped at the chance.
His passion and desire to be on the cutting edge of technology stem from his involvement with robotoics. Bacon Academy’s robotics team, which competed in tournaments.
“I’ve been involved with robotics for a long time,” Boski said. “I wasn’t really the team’s programmer, but I got to know what they did and understood it to an extent. Even though I wasn’t really into computers in high school, I did take a couple of programming classes.
“Having a little bit of experience in computers certainly helped me (at AIT). I think I was able to grasp the concepts a little bit more easily.”
Now, Boski looks forward to using his skills in Connecticut’s newest unit. He encourages anyone with a background in technology, or a passion for cyber operations, to find out if they have what it takes to join, and his advice is to learn anything you can before taking the plunge.
“I definitely recommend that anyone interested in cyber operations should start to check out computer programming and robotics-related courses to not only learn how computers work, but the concepts behind them,” Boski said.