Commentary by Maj. Allison Goodspeed
21st Space Operations Squadron Detachment 1 commander
DIEGO GARCIA, British Indian Ocean Territory — How do your day-to-day actions contribute to the big picture? For some, this question may be easy to answer, but others may have to dig deeper. The day-to-day operation at 21st Space Operations Squadron Detachment 1 is one most people are not familiar with, nor have many people heard of the tiny island of Diego Garcia, where the detachment is located. We’re perched on the rim of an extinct volcano in the British Indian Ocean Territory on the other side of the world from Colorado.
Working in this location is like being the shortstop that relays the ball from the outfielder to the catcher with the winning run rounding third. Together, everyone enables a big effect for the team, with just a handful of people here making a big impact on the U.S. space operations and the global community.
The detachment is a part of the 50th Space Wing supporting global war fighters, intelligence community users, the president and the Secretary of Defense. Our mission is to operate an Air Force Satellite Control Network Remote Tracking Station and relay on-orbit satellite tracking, telemetry, commanding, mission data retrieval operations, pre-launch satellite test and checkout, as well as direct operations launch support. We are also responsible for the operation and maintenance support of a GPS ground antenna and monitor station. Our GPS mission provides three-dimensional position, velocity and timing information to military and civilian users around the globe. This huge mission operates 24/7 with only two military and 19 Harris Information Technology Services employees. Each of the 21 people performs several roles in order to keep this complex mission operating smoothly.
I’ve always been inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’” Basically, whatever you’re charged to do in this Air Force, do it well. Take the time to become an expert at your job; do your best each and every day. What you do is important. Talk with your fellow Airmen, up, down and across your unit about how you each contribute to the mission, and appreciate how it ties into the big picture of the defense of our great nation.
The detachment is a small unit on the other side of the world from most who will read this, but the people here are experts at what they do. They take great pride in their street sweeping, for their street sweeping connects heaven and earth, and contributes our piece to the mission, inseparably entwined with the tremendous contributions of the 50 SW team.