21st SW leadership makes trip to Spain, U.K.

Airman 1st Class Matthew Dillon, Detachment 4, 21st Operations Group, receives his basic space specialty badge after giving Col. Jay Raymond, 21st Space Wing commander, a space professional certification briefing April 12. Colonel Raymond and Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Omdal, 21st SW command chief, visited the detachment, based at Moron Air Base, Spain, to get a first-hand look at how the unit contributes to U.S. Strategic Command’s space control mission of detecting, tracking and identifying all manmade deep-space objects. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Karen Ness)

Airman 1st Class Matthew Dillon, Detachment 4, 21st Operations Group, receives his basic space specialty badge after giving Col. Jay Raymond, 21st Space Wing commander, a space professional certification briefing April 12. Colonel Raymond and Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Omdal, 21st SW command chief, visited the detachment, based at Moron Air Base, Spain, to get a first-hand look at how the unit contributes to U.S. Strategic Command’s space control mission of detecting, tracking and identifying all manmade deep-space objects. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Karen Ness)

Col. Jay Raymond, 21st Space Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Omdal, 21st SW command chief, look on at Moron Optical Space Surveillance System telescope as Maj. Roberto Colon (left) briefs them on the system’s capabilities April 12. Colonel Raymond and Chief Omdal visited the detachment, based at Moron Air Base, Spain, to get a first-hand look at how the unit contributes to U.S. Strategic Command’s space control mission of detecting, tracking and identifying all manmade deep-space objects. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Karen Ness)

Col. Jay Raymond, 21st Space Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Omdal, 21st SW command chief, look on at Moron Optical Space Surveillance System telescope as Maj. Roberto Colon (left) briefs them on the system’s capabilities April 12. Colonel Raymond and Chief Omdal visited the detachment, based at Moron Air Base, Spain, to get a first-hand look at how the unit contributes to U.S. Strategic Command’s space control mission of detecting, tracking and identifying all manmade deep-space objects. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Karen Ness)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Last week, your command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Tim Omdal and I traveled across the Atlantic for site visits to three units that play a key role in the ability of the 21st Space Wing to execute its mission. These units included Detachment 4, 21st Operations Group, at Moron Air Base, Spain; Royal Air Force High Wycombe at Buckinghamshire, England; and RAF Fylingdales at North Yorkshire. 

During the visit to Det. 4, we had a fantastic time meeting the professional men and women from the unit. Det. 4 uses the Moron Optical Space Surveillance System to track man-made space objects within its field of view. In conjunction with other optical sensors in the Space Surveillance Network, the detachment provides space surveillance capability for the deep-space environment and objects in geosynchronous orbit; specifically, in the areas above Europe and the Middle East. 

One of the first items on the agenda was to observe the unit "in action" during night-time operations. I'd like to pass my personal thanks to Bravo Crew, Staff Sgt. Carl White and Senior Airman Charlie Meyerholt, for allowing us to see first-hand how they perform the mission. Maj. Roberto Colon, Det. 4 commander and his top-notch team perform an invaluable service for our nation and their contributions do not go unnoticed. 

Another highlight from the Moron visit was being able to certify Airman 1st Class Matthew Dillon as a credentialed space professional. For those that may not know, there is a long list of requirements for operations personnel in Air Force Space Command to complete before being awarded either the Basic Space Badge, Senior Space Badge or Command Space Badge. 

Having successfully completed "Space 100" training, position-related training and Combat Mission Ready certification at Moron, along with a space professional development certification briefing, Airman Dillon now joins the ranks of space operators around the world that proudly wear the Basic Space Badge. I know he was proud to have met this important milestone, just as I was in presenting him with the badge he earned. 

Following the visit to Moron, we traveled to the Headquarters of RAF Air Command at RAF High Wycombe where we visited the U.K. Missile Warning Center. This was a perfect fit in our itinerary prior to visiting RAF Fylingdales. Air Command personnel provided an enlightening look at the operations and support issues that face missile warning operations. I am very grateful to Wing Commander Paul McGuire, our host at Air Command, and the entire Air Command staff for taking the time to meet with us; their hospitality was very much appreciated. 

The last stop on our trip was visiting the missile warning site at RAF Fylingdales. Although the radar is a US-owned strategic asset, it is manned and operated by U.K. personnel with a mission of defending the United Kingdom and allied interests through coordinated missile warning, attack assessment, and space situational awareness. It was apparent during our trip that personnel at Fylingdales have a strong commitment to carrying out that mission. 

Both the Chief and I were extremely impressed with the professionalism of everyone we met. It is patently clear they take a great deal of pride in conducting flawless missile warning and space control operations. I'd like to thank Wing Commander Greg Hammond, station commander at the site, and Maj. Chris Koproski, the 21st Operations Group liaison, for making our visit a complete success. It was great to see the first-rate personnel and programs I've heard so much about.