CAVALIER AIR FORCE STATION, N.D. — With wide open skies and one big radar, the tight-knit community of Cavalier Air Force Station, North Dakota, welcomed 21st Space Wing leadership to the remote station, Sept. 26-28, 2019.
During the visit, Col. Thomas Falzarano, 21st Space Wing commander and Chief Master Sgt. Jacob Simmons, 21st SW command chief, met with Airmen and their families to understand the mission and challenges of the 10th Space Warning Squadron.
The 10th SWS’s Perimeter Acquisition Radar Attack Characterization System plays a key role in providing missile warning and space surveillance data to North American Aerospace Defense Command and the United States Strategic Command.
Cavalier AFS serves a critical role: being America’s first line of defense and executing world class space combat. The location of the installation makes it unique as well. Cavalier is the U.S. Air Force’s only remote installation in the continental United States, making things such as daily errands to medical appointments a 90 minute drive in good weather.
“We are the only CONUS isolated base in the Air Force,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Durand, 10th SWS commander. “Being up in North Dakota, sometimes you feel forgotten about, so it’s really important for the Airmen to see our leaders and know they care.”
Falzarano said he went to Cavalier to learn about the mission and the daily lives of the people, but also to see what he can help improve.
“We came to Cavalier to see the quality of life, what they have and don’t have,” said Falzarano. “It allows me to prioritize the needs of the wing. Some problems aren’t hard to solve, they just need attention.”
Over the span of the tour, Falzarano and Simmons visited Airmen’s dorms and work centers, spoke at a commander’s call, ran an enlisted and officer mentor sessions and listened to the needs of the families.
“The most important thing for any trip is getting to connect with the Airmen, hear their life stories and learn what they go through,” said Falzarano. “Anytime chief [Simmons] or I get to do that, it is a successful trip.”