FORT GORDON, Ga. -- Five Army Reserve officers made history here when they became the first of America's Army Reserve Soldiers to graduated from the 30-week Cyber Operations Officer Course, July 25.

The Soldiers are from the Army Reserve Cyber Operations Group (ARCOG), 335th Signal Command (Theater) and their graduation marks an important milestone in Army Reserve cyber operations training and education.

"This is an amazing time to join cyber," said Col. Michael J. Philbin, Joint Operations Officer, Joint Force Headquarters Cyber (Army), in his remarks at the ceremony. "We are at a time where we are simultaneously building our doctrine, our personnel base and our capabilities. No other branch can say that."

The multifaceted course, taught at the U.S. Army Cyber School here, was originally created in September 2015. It is currently comprised of three phases and covers a variety of in-depth cyber skills and information technology topics, ranging from Cisco Certified Network Associate Training to Cyber Common Technical Core to full-spectrum cyberspace operations and Core Methodologies. It is designed to prepare graduates to conduct offensive and defensive network operations and maintain the Department of Defense Information Network.

"Cyber is all very new and the change that happens everyday is stunning," said Philbin. "Every day we develop new capabilities and new techniques, and now you (the graduates) will be one of the people involved in that process. You will figure out how to infiltrate an enemy's network, and how to successfully defend ours."

One of the graduating officers who will now be taking on those responsibilities is Maj. Lloyd J. Misiowiec, team member on the ARCOG's Master Cyber Training Team. "I am privileged and fortunate to have been selected to attend this course," said Misiowiec. "It was challenging, yet very rewarding. It tested my existing knowledge while ripping away my pre-conceived notional framework of understanding, and then rebuilt it. I would highly encourage all signal officers to engage this target."

"Having our cyber officers graduate from this course is a significant milestone for the Army Reserve," said Col. James "Jim" Chatfield, the 335th's director of cyber operations. "It took a lot of coordination, board assessment and resourcing to get these officers here, and it's extremely exciting to see them not only graduate but to do exceptionally well in this course."

There were two honor graduates in the class of 17 students, and one of them was Army Reserve officer Lt. Col. William E. Bardon Jr., officer-in-charge of the ARCOG's Cyber Protection Team 182, National Capitol Region Cyber Protection Center. "This course has been a lot of fun, but it was also a lot of intellectual work," he said. " It allowed me to work with a lot of very smart young officers and learn from them, while giving them some knowledge from my own experience."

With the course now behind this new group of graduates, plans are already under way at the 335th to send more officers to it. "We anticipate 10-15 more of our officers attending this course in fiscal year 18, " said Chatfield. "That will further enhance our readiness, and move us toward meeting the initial operation capability standards that we are committed to."

In his closing remarks, Philbin posed a challenge to the newly graduated cyber warriors. "I challenge you as you go out to your new jobs, to make cyber better," he said. "How will you change things, how will you set precedence? You are in the vanguard of cyber. The doors are wide open and the opportunities will be there like in no other branch. It is a great time to be in cyber."