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Air Force News

Reserve activates two new space units

Released: 2 Nov 1999


by Tech. Sgt. David D. Morton
302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFPN) -- Air Force Reserve Command increased its role in space operations in October with the addition of two new space squadrons.

The 8th Space Warning Squadron has been activated at Buckley Air National Guard Base, Colo., and the 9th Space Operations Squadron is now operating at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., Oct. 4.

Both squadrons are part of the 310th Space Group, Schriever AFB, Colo., the only space group within Air Force Reserve Command.

With the addition of the two new squadrons, the 310th SG comprises five squadrons, including the 6th SOPS, 7th SOPS and 310th Security Forces Squadron, which are located at Schriever.

The 8th SWS, an associate unit to Buckley's 2nd SWS, will operate the Space-Based Infrared System, a follow-on system for the Defense Support Program. The DSP is an early warning satellite program started in the early 1970s used to detect the infrared signature of missiles fired by enemy forces.

"The SBIRS that we'll be operating at Buckley will enhance and expand the capabilities of the current system," said Maj. Jeff Ansted, 8th SWS commander. "It's the critical link for tactical front-line detection of missiles that may be fired at North America or in support theaters. Tracking Scud missiles fired during Operation Desert Storm is an example of the system in use."

The 8th SWS is the first space unit to integrate Reserve and Air National Guard members into an active-duty mission from the beginning stage.

The Air Force also applied the total force at Vandenberg where the 9th SOPS will serve as an associate unit to the 614th SOPS, and augment the active duty in day-to-day operations of the Air Force Space Forces Aerospace Operations Center. The AOC is a 24-hour operation center designed to provide commanders with up-to-date information on the status of Air Force satellites. The satellites provide weather, intelligence, communication and navigational data necessary for strategic planning of U.S. military operations.

The AOC provides the means for tracking and monitoring the status of 141 space units worldwide, said Lt. Col. Patrick Phelps, 9th SOPS commander. These units provide the data for surveillance, space warning, satellite command and control, and space launch capabilities.

"We don't operate any particular systems; it's our job to monitor, direct and integrate the systems that are already there," said Phelps.

"Reservists provide a strong foundation of knowledge and experience to the mission," said Ansted. "There's continuous rollover on active duty, and our personnel provide stability because they're usually there for six years. They retain corporate knowledge of the systems and pass that along to their active-duty counterparts when they arrive."

At the 9th SOPS activation ceremony, Maj. Gen. Robert Hinson, 14th Air Force commander at Vandenberg, said reliance on the Reserve and Air National Guard has increased since the end of the Cold War.

"Our ability to ... maintain our nation's superiority in space is dependent upon them (Guard and Reserve) as critical contributors to part of a cohesive total force," said Hinson. (Courtesy of Air Force Reserve Command News Service)

RELATED SITES

* Air Force Reserve Command
* Air National Guard
* Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
* Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.