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    New Jersey native awarded Cyberspace Warfare Enlisted Marine of the Year

    New Jersey native awarded Cyberspace Warfare Enlisted Marine of the Year

    Photo By Cpl. Austin Gillam | U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Michael Blachniak, a defensive cyberspace warfare...... read more read more



    Story by Cpl. Austin Gillam 

    I MEF Information Group

    MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – The Marine Corps recognized Lance Cpl. Michael J. Blachniak, a Woodstown, New Jersey native, as the 2023 Cyberspace Warfare Enlisted Marine of the Year on February 26, 2024.

    After only two years in the fleet Marine Corps, Blachniak has demonstrated exceptional initiative to his leaders and made positive impacts in his unit as a defensive cyberspace warfare operator. Cyberspace warfare operators are expected to be familiar with all aspects of maneuver operations and employ offensive and defensive cyber tools, tactics, techniques, and procedures. Presently, Blachniak serves with Defensive Cyberspace Operations Interval Defensive Measures Company, 9th Communication Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group.

    “My job is to monitor friendly networks for anomalous activity,” said Blachniak. “This could range from a hacker to an irresponsible user error, such as navigating to a malicious website."

    Blachniak enlisted in the Marine Corps in January 2021 and has participated in exercises Tiki Fury 2023 and Northern Edge 23-1 alongside Marines from his company. Exercises like these are vital to Marine Corps readiness, improving capabilities and strengthening relationships.

    “His aggressive dedication to identifying and responding to cyber threats in critical command and control infrastructure makes him a vital asset to supported maneuver elements,” said 1st Lt. Valente Hernandez-Bautista, Blachniak’s officer-in-charge.

    According to Hernandez-Bautista, the cyberspace community adapts rapidly to innovation and creates an environment that allows its Marines to flourish.

    Blachniak stands out as a Marine who is making a tangible difference within his unit. His accomplishments have garnered recognition from his leadership who nominated him for not just one, but two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, a testament to his impact. While he does not seek recognition for his work, he expressed appreciation the recognition and remains committed to ongoing improvement in his future roles.

    “The smartest people I have met in my life I have met through my job," said Blachniak. “Everyone in the community is here to work, and a lot of people don't treat it like just a job; they actually care."

    This year, Blachniak will support Marine Rotational Force Darwin, a Marine Air-Ground Task Force that works to strengthen relationships with regional Allies and partners in order to respond to crisis and set conditions for operational tasking.

    “I am looking forward to MRF-D. I can’t wait to get out there,” said Blachniak. "This will be the second rotation, and we have high expectations for ourselves to create a lasting impact on future rotations by [my company].”

    In April 2024, the winners of the Information Awards will be brought together during the annual MCA Information Awards Dinner, in coordination with the Deputy Commandant for Information, Lt. Gen. Matthew G. Glavy. This event will showcase the achievements and contributions of top performing Marines, civilians and units from information, C4 and intelligence communities around the Marine Corps.



    Date Taken: 03.25.2024
    Date Posted: 03.26.2024 14:28
    Story ID: 467004
    Location: CAMP PENDLETON, CA, US
    Hometown: WOODSTOWN, NJ, US

    Web Views: 239
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