5 SWS activation ceremony

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Aleece Williams
  • Space Base Delta 2 Public Affairs

The 5th Space Warning Squadron activation and assumption of command ceremony was held on Oct. 13, 2023, at the Leadership Development Center at Buckley Space Force Base, Colorado.

5 SWS was established and activated in 1992 and inactivated in 1999. Though this squadron has been inactive for many years, its essential contributions to space domain awareness have caused it to be reactivated by Space Delta 4.

Not only did 5 SWS provide the only ground support station in the southern hemisphere for the Defense Support Program for nearly 53 years, but it also provided global and theater early warning reporting on ballistic missiles launched in the eastern hemisphere from 1992-1999. This squadron’s excellence earned the Air Force Outstanding Unit award on numerous occasions for providing unparalleled global missile warning detection.

“To the owls of the 5th Space Warning Squadron, today you are making history,” said Col. Ernest Schmitt, Space Delta 4 commander. “I feel lucky that I get to be here to celebrate the activation of 5 SWS, and it's an honor for Space Delta 4 to reactivate it and usher in a new era for the United States Space Force.”

The mission of this squadron is to uphold what was once the Army’s Joint Tactical Ground Station missile warning system. JTAGs has been a part of the missile warning framework and an essential component for the United States European Command, United States Central Command and the United States Indo-Pacific Command since its first activation in 1999 with the Army’s 1st Space Brigade.

Over the course of its lifespan, JTAGs has been conducting critical theater missile warning operations for decades by providing real-time, 24/7 missile warning information, ensuring effective execution of military functions across the joint force.

“This mission coupled with the capabilities all the combat squadrons of Delta 4 bring to the fight and the capabilities that are planned for delivery for the next few years ensures that Delta 4 can provide the necessary warfighting capabilities that will be needed to meet adversary threats now and to the future,” said Schmitt.

Following Schmitt’s remarks, he introduced Lt. Col. Michael A. Provencher, 5th Space Warning Squadron commander. Provencher has had an extensive career, first serving in the Air Force, then transferring to the Army, before beginning his journey in the Space Force. His experience with missile operations, serving as a Company Commander, Security Force Advisor and Assistance Team Leader, and more make him uniquely qualified to serve in this capacity.

“Space Delta 4 combines into one architecture for missile warning and we want to thank the 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd theater missile warning companies of the 1st Space Battalion for everything they’ve been doing to help support us,” said Provencher. “We’ve had Guardians alongside those companies for the past year who’ll be serving beside them through next spring and we couldn’t do it without their support.”