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460th OG, Det. 1 wins McKee Award

The 460th Operations Group, Detachment 1, Boulder, Colo. won the 2015 Gen. Seth J. McKee Award, which recognizes the best overall Space Warning Squadron in Air Force Space Command that made the most significant contributions in support of the overall space mission. McKee, then a lieutenant colonel, and his P-38 Lightning, named for his wife, during World War II. The two swastikas represent German planes he shot down before D-Day. (Courtesy photo by Pat Shannahan)

The 460th Operations Group, Detachment 1, Boulder, Colo. won the 2015 Gen. Seth J. McKee Award, which recognizes the best overall Space Warning Squadron in Air Force Space Command that made the most significant contributions in support of the overall space mission. McKee, then a lieutenant colonel, and his P-38 Lightning, named for his wife, during World War II. The two swastikas represent German planes he shot down before D-Day. (Courtesy photo by Pat Shannahan)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

The 460th Operations Group, Detachment 1, Boulder, Colorado, won the 2015 Gen. Seth J. McKee Award. The award, presented annually, recognizes the best overall Space Warning Squadron in Air Force Space Command that made the most significant contributions in support of the overall space mission.

“There are four main factors that determine who is awarded the McKee Award,” said Col. Bob Reeves, 460th Operations Group commander. “Those are mission accomplishment, meritorious achievement or service, quality initiative, which are process improvements in the area of mission operations, quality of life and safety, and lastly, other factors which includes, but not limited to, community service, and other tangible and quantifiable factors that affect the unit’s mission.”

The award, named after McKee, honors not only the unit that receives the award, but also McKee who served 38 years in the U.S. Air Force. A significant even from McKee’s career was flying over Normandy, France during D-Day and seeing battleships firing on the shore. As of 2014, McKee held a four-star general rank longer than anyone else in history.

“Winning this award means AFSPC recognized Buckley Air Force Base unit as the ‘best of the best’ of all space warning squadrons in AFSPC and demonstrates how Team Buckley embraces the AF core value of ‘excellence in all we do,’” said Lt. Col. Craig Thorstenson, 460th Operations Group, Det. 1 commander.

According to Thorstenson, Det. 1 contributed to the overall space mission in many ways that led to winning the McKee Award, including:
• Processing 3,000 enemy threat events for global combatant commands
• Accelerating automated tasking of the constellation's most capable sensor by two years
• Achieving deployment and checkout of a $500 million payload with the cleanest campaign in the SBIRS program's 19 year history
• Training over 70 personnel on more than 100 operational and launch tasks spanning 13,000 cumulative training hours
• Crafting strategic on-orbit test communications plans which was adopted as the gold standard for the entire product center
• Daily SBIRS GEO mission operations
• Three major software upgrades with each having its own Integration Checkout & Evaluation Period and Trial Period Operations Acceptance
• Five noteworthy satellite software uploads
• Supporting SBIRS Block 10 transition and rehearsal and readiness activities Four GEO-4 upcoming launch readiness events.

“Det. 1 is a combination of active duty military and civilian contractors who work hard each and every day to provide the best support for the United States Strategic Command’s global missile warning network through the Interim Space Based Infrared System Geostationary operation,” said Reeves. “Without the hard work and dedication of these individuals winning the McKee Award wouldn’t have been possible.”

The 2015 win isn’t the first time Det. 1 earned the McKee Award. They have been recognized previously for their work.

“This is the second win of the McKee award for Det. 1, their last win was in 2013,” said Reeves. “Winning twice in three years really goes to show how strong these operators are in their support of the 338,000 warfighters.”

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