By Senior Airman Sean Mitchell
19th Space Operations Squadron
Where would an Air Force operational squadron be without a director of operations? Where would a commander be without his trusty right hand? When Lt. Col. Todd Benson, 2nd Space Operations Squadron commander, found himself in this situation, he didn’t have to look far.
“Not all active duty squadrons have a reserve associate squadron partnered with them,” said Benson. “2 SOPS is very fortunate to have a pool of talented and experienced reservists within arm’s reach.”
Enter Maj. Kimberly Adams, 19th Space Operations Squadron Operations Flight commander. A satellite launch expert and veteran leader, she was handpicked by Benson to fill this important role. This is the first time in the 15-year history of 19 SOPS a reservist was asked to fill the active duty director of operations position. Benson recognized her hard work by awarding the Air Force Achievement Medal during a Reserve Unit Training Assembly weekend. The medal was a complete surprise and was presented in front of the entire squadron and 310th Space Wing leadership, including the wing and group commanders. Lt. Col. Sam Baxter, 19 SOPS commander, organized the surprise presentation.
“The look on Maj. Adams’ face was priceless when she was summoned to the stage,” said Baxter. “More importantly was the look of pride by our members in seeing how the success of Maj. Adams was rewarded, and how much the active duty commander cared about one of our reservists.”
“It was an incredible honor to be asked and a rewarding experience to say the least,” said Adams. “I’m thankful for the Airmen of 2 SOPS who helped me succeed by performing so well. Of course the support of my 19 SOPS colleagues was unwavering. I’m most proud how the bond of squadrons came together even stronger, another testament to the advantage of the Total Force construct.”
During her three months as the 2 SOPS director of operations, Adams guided the operations of the 39-satellite, $3.6 billion Global Positioning System, the world’s largest military satellite constellation. She oversaw the GPS Intrusion Protection Reinforcement Phase II installation, which greatly improved the overall cyber security of the system. She presided over a successful transfer of mission operations to the backup facility, and led the execution of numerous dynamic tactics, increasing the overall weapon strike capability in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
Since completing her time as interim DO, Adams has returned to her duties as 19 SOPS Operations Flight commander.