CompTIAWorld | FALL 2017 44 A Taste of Cybersecurity to Launch a Military IT Career In 1996, Senior Master Sergeant Larue M. Holliday was working at a fast food restaurant. He’s a triplet, and one of his brothers had joined the U.S. Marines and the other was attending college. Seeing them succeed, he decided it was time to start his own adventure by joining the U.S. Air Force. Today, he’s spent nearly two decades doing military IT. Holliday worked his way up from troubleshooting to cybersecurity and communications to managing a team that works in a highly-classified area. In 2010, he went for the CompTIA trifecta, earning Security+, A+ and Network+ within a matter of months. “We are required to have information assurance-level requirements,” he said. “If you’re operating on a network, you’re required to have proper certification.” Holliday’s military career began with some critical first steps. After completing basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, Holliday attended the Security Police Academy. A few years later, in 2000, he made the next move in his military career and switched over to IT. “I got to work on computers and found I loved troubleshooting. I loved meeting customers, sitting at their desk, loading software or RAM,” he said. He soon had the opportunity to move from a support role to cybersecurity, and he jumped on it. While stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, Holliday and a soldier from the U.S. Army were taken to a remote location in the mountains where they had to locate a signal to get a connection on a satellite phone. “I remember being in a location abroad in the middle of nowhere and being able to test that out, to make a secure call and be ready at a moment’s notice to dial anyone from any location,” he said. “That’s when I got my first taste of cybersecurity.” n