By Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely | 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 50th Operations Support Squadron is holding its largest class to train 64 space operators.
This is in response to the new officer undergraduate space training and enlisted space training courses being taught at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
“The new course will provide a base-level foundation for space operators,” Master Sgt. Carl White, 50th Operations Support Squadron operations support flight chief said. “The course is constantly evolving alongside our mission to ensure we can better meet the needs of the Air Force.”
Airman 1st Class Justin Thomas, 50th OSS student, is currently enrolled in the initial qualification training course. He said he believes the new course is the future of educating space operators.
The course started Nov. 5 and is expected to send Airmen to the 2nd Space Operations Squadron and the 4th SOPS upon the student’s graduation April 15, 2020.
“I believe the new course will help evolve space and cyberspace warfighting superiority by teaching its students modern techniques and processes of running their weapon systems,” he said. “The new training will prepare students like none other.”
The 50th OSS is scheduled to receive students with this new training in February to April, when they will be enrolled into classes to teach them the specific mission systems they will operate at here.
“We’re currently hosting the largest classes we’ve ever had,” White said. “This is to minimize any delay the course changes could cause. We’re making sure our units have the Airmen they need to successfully execute their missions.”
As space evolves, it’s important military training evolves alongside it to stay ahead of potential adversaries. The new course shifts focus from operator errors to adversary actions.
“We’ve since recognized space is a contested domain with adversaries as our primary issue. We’re trying to put our operators in the mindset of the enemy to combat them more effectively,” White said.
In an effort to maximize force effectiveness, White said the career field is specializing training to best fit the needs of the Air Force.
“The course will assess Airmen’s strengths and weaknesses and assign them to units that match their strengths,” he said. “We’re warfighter driven and by doing this we’re able to make sure our warfighters are assigned to units they’re most qualified.”
Thomas is enrolled in the largest class the OSS has ever had and said he believes he is receiving the necessary training to successfully operate and execute the mission.
“I think this class will turn us into elite space warfighters,” he said. “With both written and physical training [simulator training], I believe we’ll gain the knowledge that will best suit us moving forward as space operators.”
The OSS is temporarily not receiving new students until Airmen who went through the new OUST and EUST courses arrive here. However, the 50th OSS’ training with its current implementation of IQT will continue to be rigorous in developing space warfighters.
“Our coursework covers multiple avenues from the basics of squadron authority to specifics on a weapons system,” Thomas said. “That’s only a peek at what the written course covers. The physical and simulator side of the course covers realistic training that challenges us with real life scenarios as well as providing the necessary knowledge on how to combat them or perform their basic task while on crew.”
Despite the changes made to training, the 50th OSS will evolve space and cyberspace warfighting superiority to continue to shape and train space warfighters to keep the United States, it’s assets and allies safe.