7th Space Warning Squadron team shows commitment, professionalism

PETERSON AFB, Colo. -- Last week, I had the distinct privilege of visiting the men and women of the 7th Space Warning Squadron, one of our geographically separated units at Beale AFB, California. Accompanying me on my trip were Command Chief Tim Omdal and SrA Kathrine Campo of the 21st Space Communications Squadron. 

To say that we walked away from our visit impressed with the commitment and professionalism shown by each member of this squadron, military and civilian alike, would be an understatement. Their ability to conduct flawless missile warning, missile defense, and space surveillance operations is one of the reasons why the 21st Space Wing is so successful in executing its overall mission. This type of commitment and professionalism is also a big reason why our current CGO of the Quarter hails from the 7th. Congratulations again to 1st Lt Israel Abensur for his outstanding achievement! 

Another area that stood out was the tremendous teamwork the 7 SWS "Bandits" exhibit on a daily basis. Relying not only on its active duty Air Force members and DoD civilians for mission accomplishment, the unit also receives significant contributions from Canadian Forces and contractor personnel. The Canadian Forces, as part of a bilateral agreement between our two countries, have a long history of supporting missile warning and space surveillance operations ... and they do it extremely well. 

Regarding the maintenance contractors, their current record of support in providing a 99.9% mission availability rate speaks for itself. Whether working under the previous contract with ARCTEC or today's contract with BAE Systems, these individuals continue to impress with a "can do" spirit they've provided year after year. Not to be forgotten are those working for Boeing and Raytheon; they have been particularly instrumental in bringing the new Upgraded Early Warning Radar system online through software development, testing, and troubleshooting. 

Speaking of UEWR, the squadron's efforts in bringing this system online haven't received nearly the attention it deserves. Lt Col Keith Skinner and his predecessor, Lt Col Russ Pulliam, and their team should be very proud of what has taken place. For those that may not know, UEWR is a component of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System. The GMD system is the first missile defense program deployed operationally to defend North America against the threat of a limited strategic ballistic missile attack. 

Whether it was identifying and resolving software deficiencies, conducting comprehensive UEWR requalification training or creating a brand new training & standardization/evaluation program, the unit persevered with unwavering attention to detail and a relentless mission focus. When you factor in their ability to successfully pass several higher headquarter inspections, maintain 24/7 Early Warning Radar operations, and support numerous Missile Defense Agency flight tests, you begin to understand just how tremendous their efforts over the last few years have been. 

Besides meeting the outstanding people at 7 SWS, the trip to Beale was eventful for another reason--it was the first time a guest Airman from the wing traveled with me on one of my site visits. I selected SrA Campo, one of our best and brightest, to accompany Chief Omdal and me to Beale in order to gain a better appreciation for the importance of the missile warning and space control portion of the wing's mission. Including one of our best young Airmen on these site visits is part of an overall strategic planning effort to develop a greater culture of understanding for the 21st Space Wing mission. In other words, this strategic planning effort is aimed at helping every Airman understand where they "fit in" and why their job is important. I look forward to continuing this effort and allowing more of our Airmen the opportunity see more of what takes place around the world throughout the 21st Space Wing.