By Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely | 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 50th Space Wing stood up the Rapid Response Decontamination Detail in response to COVID-19 and hosted a training session March 26, in the wing headquarters building.
The training lasted about an hour and highlighted the importance of having a crew on standby to keep the mission essential operations centers clean and functioning.
“It’s a 24/7 team trained and equipped for rapid response to support operations inside the restricted area,” said Capt. James Selix, 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron weapons officer and R2D2 officer in charge.
In order for operations crews to request R2D2 services, a squadron commander must call the team and they have 15-30 minutes to respond and initiate the cleaning operation.
“We’re expecting Airmen do the preventative portion of their cleaning,” Selix said. “We’re not there to do it for them. We are activated when there are folks showing symptoms of COVID-19 or have positive tests.”
The crew has a priority system should they need to deconflict requests.
“We want to be rapid to support operations,” Selix said. “[Airmen] are continuing their missions 24/7 and if their crews are doing deep cleanings, that’s pulling them away from doing supports, contacting satellites or protecting the restricted area.”
The detail will be operating in eight-hour shifts to ensure their 24/7 availability. They will be on standby to provide terminal cleanings and supplies to squadrons as needed.
“ This is a new enemy,” Selix said. “ This is a new fight for all of us. We’re developing teams that make sense in the fight against COVID-19, it takes all of us building the road as we walk it.”
The crew will have hydrogen-peroxide, disinfectant wipes, protective gear such as goggles, facemasks and boot covers, and cleaning sprays and solutions to ensure the operation floors are sanitized and operational.
“In order to get ahead of this pandemic we need to flatten the curve,” said Capt. Megan Maxwell, 21st Medical Squadron medical operations flight commander. “ That is going to come from us working with the squadrons directly.”
Despite the worldwide COVID response, the 50th Space Wing continues to execute its critical operations, making it important to ensure the proper steps are taken to maintain Airmen’s health and well-being.
“Wash your hands, using hand sanitizer and wiping down dirty surfaces are just a few of the things we can do to slow the spread of this virus,” said Maxwell.
This initiative is currently available to 50 SW units, however mission partners can contact Selix to develop a similar capability for their mission essential operations.