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Block 10 training chief goes from aircraft to spacecraft

Capt. Matthew Lohmeier, 460th Operations Group Block 10 chief of training, instructs a trainee in the Standardized Space Trainer July 22, 2015, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The SST is a state-of-the-art training suite designed to emulate the new Block 10 operations floor environment and increase the speed and efficiency with which new space operators learn their mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Darren Scott/Released)

Capt. Matthew, 460th Operations Group Block 10 chief of training, stands in the Standardized Space Trainer July 22, 2015, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The SST is a state-of-the-art training suite designed to emulate the new Block 10 operations floor environment and increase the speed and efficiency with which new space operators learn their mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Darren Scott/Released)

Capt. Matthew Lohmeier, 460th Operations Group Block 10 chief of training, stands in the Standardized Space Trainer July 22, 2015, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The SST is a state-of-the-art training suite designed to emulate the new Block 10 operations floor environment and increase the speed and efficiency with which new space operators learn their mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Darren Scott/Released)

Capt. Matthew, 460th Operations Group Block 10 chief of training, instructs a trainee in the Standardized Space Trainer July 22, 2015, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The SST is a state-of-the-art training suite designed to emulate the new Block 10 operations floor environment and increase the speed and efficiency with which new space operators learn their mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Darren Scott/Released)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Buckley is home to space operators that work 24/7, providing persistent global surveillance to the entire earth without pause.

The responsibility of training future warriors falls to Capt. Matthew, Block 10 chief of training.

Matthew oversees the Standardized Space Trainer, a state-of-the-art training suite designed to emulate the new Block 10 operations floor environment and increase the speed and efficiency with which new space operators learn their mission. The SST combines simulated information from multiple space assets from geographically separated locations.

"My job is to make sure the crewmembers are trained to process that mission and warn both the U.S. and the rest of our allies in the world of imminent threats," Matthew said. "Without proper training, then you don't have personnel who can accomplish that mission.

The SST allows operators to learn their missile warning mission with simulations that look like the real thing, so when they get to the operations floor they can perform their mission flawlessly every time. As chief of training, Matthew oversees a group of instructors while interacting with the agencies responsible for SST development, constantly working to ensure they're functioning properly so training can continue.

"I'm always interfacing with different agencies and people daily, with a new question or set of questions that I need to answer every day," Matthewsaid. "And so, I often find myself thinking in ways that I hadn't thought of just the day prior. It's dynamic. It's usually not the same."

Although Matthew is now responsible for training Airmen to pilot spacecraft, he is no stranger to being a pilot himself. He flew aircraft for six and a half years before medical issues forced him into a different career field. He chose space.

Though medically disqualified from flying because of persistent eye problems, Lohmeier leads his team of instructors with a different kind of vision, one that they respect and can get on board with.

Staff Sgt. Ana, satellite systems operator instructor, says he is the leader that the team needs.

"He's motivating," Ana said. "It lets me know that the weight is not only on my shoulders. Whenever he saw morale was low, he did something about it. He's always looking out for us."

Just like the SST brings together multiple space operations assets, Ana says Matthew has brought together the different instructors and their sections to work side by side in their mission.

"When Block 10 initially started, everyone was kind of doing their own thing," she said. "There was no actual integration of all the different areas. But ever since Capt. Matthew has taken over leadership-wise, I feel like we're a shop. We've come together and we're actually working as a team."

Originally recruited to play basketball at the Air Force Academy, Matthew says he decided to stay for different reasons, finding new motivation to come to work in the morning and complete the mission.

"I enjoy watching people learn and grow," Matthew said. "You get to see a lot of that in training, perhaps more than you do in a lot of other jobs on base. And that's true of both the students or crewmembers that we're training, as well as our instructors. As you teach something, you become more intelligent. With every successive class of students that come through, our instructors are able to do a better job because they've grown. And I get to see it."

From aircraft to spacecraft, from flying to training, Matthew continues to lead his team of instructors with drive, ensuring the future of missile warning for the nation.
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