By Staff Sgt. Erica Picariello
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Members from the 19th Space Operations Squadron earned the 2010 Air Force Reserve Command Team Excellence Award last month.
The award recognizes outstanding team performance and shares best practices within the Air Force. It promotes an efficient approach for enhancing mission capability, improving operational performance and achieving continuous results while maximizing efficiency.
The 28-member team, comprised of Schriever reserve members from 19 SOPS, 310th Operations Group and 310 OG Standardization and Evaluation Flight as well as active duty members from 2 SOPS and the Global Positioning System directorate, helped in the critical role of the successful launch of the first GPS IIF-1 satellite last May.
“This award is a great recognition of the benefits inherent in total force operations,” said Lt. Col. Damon Feltman, 19 SOPS commander. “19 SOPS is proud to carry the flag for AFRC, but it can’t be overstated enough that this was truly a team effort and 19 SOPS is not standing alone. The 310th Space Wing, 50th Space Wing and the Space and Missile Systems Center share this achievement.”
GPS IIF-1 was launched at approximately 11 p.m., May 27, 2010, aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Medium rocket. The team credits having a total force background for the successful launch.
“We were able to pull from the different knowledge base each organization brought to the table. For example, we used the 2 SOPS Satellite Anomaly Resolution Team operational instructions to form the basis of the GPS Directorate operational instruction,” said Maj. Linda Gostomski, 19 SOPS assistant flight commander and GPS IIF-1 launch lead and satellite vehicle operations director. “This allowed a seamless Satellite Control Authority transition. This was a big change from previous GPS launches where SCA to 50 SW was handed over at first acquisition rather than after on-orbit checkout.”
This team may have had the knowledge base to work with, but they also credit communication to their operational success.
“We learned that communication was key,” Major Gostomski said. “This included basic communication day-to-day, to learning how to communicate during Satellite Anomaly Resolution Team meetings with coast-to-coast participation.”
Properly applying the personnel that comprised the crew was also an integral part in the successful launch and mission transfer.
“The biggest benefit was being able to combine efforts,” Major Gostomski said. “Once we were 3-axis stabilized we were able to leverage
[GPS Launch/Early Orbit, Anomaly Resolution and Disposal Operations] trained 2 SOPS crew members to perform state of health and ranging supports. This was huge considering we had four launch attempts that were delayed and 19 SOPS crew members would have been on crew for 10 days running if we did not have the 2 SOPS crews to draw from.”
Preparation was also key to the team’s success.
“Our team worked tirelessly to ensure every member was as prepared for the launch as possible,” said Keith Kirkaldy, 2 SOPS satellite systems operator instructor and GPS IIF-1 launch satellite systems operator. “We spent countless hours in the simulator, in addition to numerous test launches. We took every opportunity to learn about every aspect of the launch. We stood ready and continued to study and practice throughout launch preparation. We gave our very best to make our command, the Air Force and our country proud.”
The preparation and combined effort helped launch the first GPS IIF-1 satellite and instill pride across the commands.
“On behalf of the men and women of the 50th Space Wing, I would like to congratulate the total force GPS IIF-1 Satellite Launch and Early Orbit Team on earning the 2010 AFRC Team Excellence award,” said Col. Wayne Monteith, 50th Space Wing commander. “This is a shining example of how the operations and acquisition communities can work together to bring capabilities to users around the world. My hat goes off to the team efforts that demonstrate not only our commitment to excellence but also to the modernization of the GPS constellation.”