435th AGOW Airman receives Thunderbolt recognition

by Senior Airman Caitlin O’Neil-McKeown
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 435th Air and Ground Operations Wing recently recognized an Airman from the 1st Air and Space Communications Operations Squadron as this week’s Thunderbolt recognition recipient.

Staff Sgt. Trevor McAfee, 1st ACOS intelligence systems cyber defense supervisor, was the highlighted individual who earned this achievement.

This award is the wing commander’s way of recognizing superior performing Airmen within the 435th AGOW. One accomplishment McAfee was recognized for was his participation in managing the Defense Intelligence Agency’s password auditing initiative for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa’s top secret network.

“Once we stood up the needed equipment, we audited every user’s password to ensure they were using secure passwords,” McAfee said. “Any weak passwords were identified and the users were forced to change their passwords to something more secure.”

Another part of the job includes scanning all the computers on the network for vulnerabilities.

“The file with the results from this scan is huge and cumbersome to look at and wade through in order to find the relevant information,” McAfee said. “I taught myself a scripting language, and wrote some scripts that would break down the data into something more technician friendly. With the improved data views we were able to reduce the number of vulnerabilities by 46 percent.”

Not only proficient in his career field, he also strives to improve himself and the processes in which jobs are completed.

“What makes McAfee stand out among his peers is his initiative to improve his skills in cyber defense and offense,” said Tech. Sgt. Scott Zabel, 1st ACOS intelligence systems cyber defense supervisor. “He has a passion for stopping the cyber threats that put our Air Force networks at risk and works hard to secure our top secret systems in U.S. Air Forces in Europe.”

As a unit of the 435th AGOW, the 1st ACOS assists in carrying out the mission of rapidly established expeditionary airfield operations and communications, integrates joint fires and weather across the full spectrum of conflict, and provides theater-wide combat support and training.

“I’m grateful to work with a lot of great people. It feels good to be recognized for doing a good job,” McAfee said.

McAfee and the 1st ACOS stand ready to serve Team Ramstein and the mission of providing the Air Force with a premier installation to enable and assure strategic capabilities.