Reserve Space Warning Unit makes history
By Lt. Col. Andrew Peeples, Detachment 1, 8th Space Warning Squadron
/ Published December 15, 2009
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The Space-Based Infrared System total force team made history Nov. 8 when an all-Reserve crew from Detachment 1, 8th Space Warning Squadron, 310th Space Wing fully manned the SBIRS Mission Control Station Back-up at Schriever.
The crew, comprised of Det. 1, 8th SWS Airmen, assumed overall operations responsibility for a 12-hour period on the SBIRS Highly Elliptical Orbit satellites. The Detachment is a Reserve Associate Unit, which augments the 11th Space Warning Squadron, 460th Space Wing, Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.
"Being a Reserve Associate Unit to the 11 SWS, I feel our all Reserve day shift was a momentous event. I look forward to continuing this show of support in the future as our units continue to grow together," said Master Sgt. Jason Collins, a flight chief in Detachment 1.
"This historic event marked the second time in the history of space-based missile warning that an all-Reserve crew performed missile warning," said Lt. Col. Mark Gruenewald, Detachment 1 Commander. "The first time being Nov. 3, 2002, when our parent unit, the 8th Space Warning Squadron, performed SBIRS Increment 1 operations using legacy Defense Support Program satellites out of the Mission Control Station at Buckley Air Force Base."
The SBIRS HEO program is Air Force Space Command's first ever taskable sensor. The unique tasking capability enables operators to orient the sensor over select targets of opportunity to provide continuous and reliable warning of attack against the United States, our allies and forces based worldwide.
SBIRS is an evolving program, which when fully operational, will be composed of three separate and distinct satellite systems. These satellite systems include: the Defense Support Program, the SBIRS HEO, and the SBIRS Geosynchronous Earth Orbit, which will launch in the near future. SBIRS is designed to provide strategic and tactical early warning information directly to U.S. warfighters.
A 'total force' team of active duty, Reservists and contractor personnel, support operations of the SBIRS HEO mission round-the-clock, 365 days-a-year.
"This demonstrates the value of our 'total force,' a force multiplier that ensures continuity of our critical operations and depth of experience across our mission areas," said Lt. Col. Shawn Fairhurst, 11th SWS Commander.
Detachment 1 is a comprised of 11 full-time and 21 traditional positions for Reservists. All Airmen, whether active duty or Reserve, must go through the same Combat Mission Ready certification program as to ensure the seamless support of military operations. In addition, members of Detachment 1 have held key positions in 11th SWS operations such as Flight Commander and Flight Chief.
"This speaks volumes of the trust and confidence our regular Air Force partners have placed on us and we look forward to this continued relationship in the future," Colonel Gruenewald said.