By Tech. Sgt. Kevin Diaz
3rd Space Operations Squadron
Thrid Space Operations Squadron Airmen here were part of a historic transfer made today when they took command and control of the third Wideband Global SATCOM satellite system from Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB, Calif.
Lt. Col. Jean Eisenhut, 3 SOPS commander, along with Col. Wayne Monteith, 50th Space Wing commander, and Col. Stanford Kekauoha, 50th Operations Group commander, accepted the transfer of responsibility approved by Col. Lee-Volker Cox, 14th Air Force A3, at 2 p.m. via a teleconference that also included Col. William Harding, MILSATCOM Systems vice commander at the Space and Missile Systems Center.
The WGS-3 satellite is the third installment of the WGS system. Lt Col. Eisenhut stated, “On behalf of 3 SOPS, I am proud to accept command authority for WGS-3 which completes the first block of WGS satellites.” WGS satellites are elements of a new high-capacity satellite communications system providing enhanced communications capabilities to America’s troops around the world for the next decade and beyond.
WGS enables more robust and flexible execution of command and control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance as well as battle management and combat support information functions. WGS-3 augments the existing service of the WGS-1 and WGS-2 satellites and the Defense Satellite Communications System constellation by providing global information broadcast capabilities.
WGS-3 was successfully launched into orbit December 5, 2009, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The satellite is positioned to provide support to U.S. European Command, U.S. Central Command, and U.S. African Command.
Throughout the next few years, the number of WGS satellites to include the beginning of the Block II constellation, will increase to six, with the Air Force looking to build an 11-satellite constellation in the future.