By Senior Airman Rose Gudex
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — “There is no more global operations capability than you’ll find in (the 21st Space Wing),” said Gen. John E. Hyten, U. S. Strategic Command commander. “They are as far north as Thule Air Base, Greenland, south across the entire United States and spread out all over the world. “
The 21st Space Wing was awarded the Omaha Trophy, recognizing the team as USSTRATCOM’s premier space or cyberspace unit for global operations during a ceremony at the auditorium on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, April 6. Col. Doug Schiess, 21st SW commander, accepted the award from Hyten and Mogens Bay, Strategic Command Consultation Committee.
The 21st SW provides missile warning and space control to North American Aerospace Defense Command and USSTRATCOM through a network of command and control units, and ground and space-based sensors operated by geographically separated units around the world.
“From your operational command’s perspective, there is not much of a larger award you can get,” Hyten said.
An advisory group of business leaders in Omaha, Nebraska, created the Omaha Trophy on the 25th anniversary of the Air Force’s Strategic Air Command in 1971 to recognize the best wing in the command. When SAC stood down and USSTRACOM was activated in 1992, the tradition continued.
“This recognition of excellence is a 46-year tradition,” said Bay. “I couldn’t be more proud to be here with Gen. Hyten to present the Omaha Trophy to you. I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the presentation of an award recognizing your display of leadership, commitment and dedication to what we hold so dearly — our freedom.”
Over the years, the award categories evolved to match the mission of USSTRATCOM. In 2008, the global operations category was added to reflect the command’s commitment to Global Security for America. The other four categories include Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Operations, Submarine Ballistic Missile Operations, Strategic Aircraft Operations and Strategic Bomber Operations.
This is the first time the 21st SW has received the award since the creation of the category in 2008. Hyten stressed the significance of the award and the scope of the USSTRATCOM mission supported by the 21st SW.
“U.S. Strategic Command is 184,000 Americans all around the globe doing some of the most difficult work we need to do — from nuclear weapons, to space, to cyberspace, missile defense, and electronic warfare,” he said. “All of those capabilities are essential to the security of this nation and the 21st SW was recognized as the best of the best when awarded the Omaha Trophy.”
He went on to explain the role space has in theatre operations downrange, quelling the misconception that the space mission isn’t conducted while in harm’s way.
“Everywhere we are in combat, everywhere we are in the fight today, you will find space people embedded with us,” Hyten said. “If you look at this wing, we are embedded globally everywhere we go.”
Schiess added to say the men and women of the 21st SW are continually monitoring space for incoming threats to North America and its allies, in addition to monitoring the activities of any potential adversaries wishing to do harm.
“We have men and women deployed downrange in the mission of space control and they put themselves in harm’s way to do their job and protect the United States and our allies,” he said.
Of all the awards the 21st SW received recently, to include the Moorman Award and the Harries Award, Schiess said the Omaha Trophy means the most.
“It says what we do every day is incredible, whether you’re making sure someone is medically ready to go downrange, guarding the gates, or making sure we can get our space Airmen out of town if we have to with our logistics readiness and airfield folks,” he said. “If you’re at one of our missile warning, missile defense or space situational awareness sites, or ultimately going downrange — you are all amazing Airmen.
“You do a great job. You do it for our nation and you do it for United States Strategic Command, and I couldn’t be more proud of you all. I love being a knight and thank you for everything you do.”