By Staff Sgt. Zachary Sheely | 100th Missile Defense Brigade
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Army Col. Michael Hatfield, commander, 100th Missile Defense Brigade, will accept U.S. Strategic Command’s 2019 Omaha Trophy for Global Operations from Rear Adm. William W. “Trey” Wheeler III, USSTRATCOM chief of staff, during a ceremony at U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command Headquarters, 3 Vandenberg St., Peterson Air Force Base, today at 8:15 a.m.
This is the first time an Army unit and the first time an Army National Guard unit has been selected for this prestigious honor, which recognizes outstanding support to the USSTRATCOM mission of strategic deterrence.
“Winning matters and claiming this award is a testament to all the Soldiers of the 100th and their steadfast dedication to our presidentially directed homeland defense mission,” Hatfield said. “Their accomplishments, mission effectiveness, formal evaluation and inspection results, and meritorious achievements throughout 2019 set them apart from other contenders.”
The Omaha Trophy, which dates back to the U.S. Air Force’s Strategic Air Command, was originally created by the Strategic Air Command Consultation Committee in 1971. At the time, a single trophy was presented annually as a token of appreciation to the command’s best wing. The SCC – an advisory group comprising business leaders in the Omaha area – became the Strategic Command Consultation Committee after the activation of USSTRATCOM in 1992.
Since then, the tradition has evolved to five awards to recognize USSTRATCOM’s premier intercontinental ballistic missile wing, ballistic missile submarine, strategic bomber wing, global operations (space/cyberspace) unit and strategic aircraft wing.
The 100th Missile Defense Brigade Ground-based Midcourse Defense is the only unit in the Department of Defense tasked with a dedicated mission to defend the U.S. and designated areas from intercontinental ballistic missile attack using ground-based interceptor missiles, emplaced at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Redundant missile defense crews monitor the skies over the U.S. from Fort Greely and Schriever Air Force Base 24 hours a day.
On March 25, 2019, the 100th Missile Defense Brigade proved its capability to defend the United States homeland and designated areas against an intercontinental ballistic missile attack. Brigade Soldiers, in concert with mission partners, executed the first ever salvo test launch of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system: Flight-test Ground-based Interceptor 11.
The FTG-11 was also the first flight test that employed two operational missile defense crews, one at Schriever Air Force Base and one 49th Missile Defense Battalion crew at Fort Greely. The crews had no advanced notice of the launch and performed their tactics, techniques and procedures to launch two ground-based interceptors from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
All of the systems and crew members performed nominally and, as in previous flight tests, the threat was successfully neutralized. The ground-based interceptors successfully intercepted and destroyed a threat-representative intercontinental ballistic missile test vehicle launched from the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site at the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
“We are proud to win the Omaha Trophy and add this to the long list of successes achieved by the 100th Missile Defense Brigade,” Hatfield said. “However, we take our mission to defend the United States seriously and our work to improve never ends. We will continue to be the shield to guard, engage and destroy any threat to the homeland.”
Due to COVID restrictions, physical participation in this event will be limited. The ceremony will be streamed live via the 100th Missile Defense Brigade Facebook page at Facebook.com/100thMDB.
United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command and the Colorado Army National Guard activated the nation’s first ground-based midcourse Missile Defense Brigade Oct. 16, 2003. Now known as the 100th Missile Defense Brigade, the unit operates the first part of the integrated Ballistic Missile Defense System, which, in concert with sister services, is designed to protect the nation from accidental or intentional ballistic missile attacks. It is manned both by Colorado Army National Guard and active-component Soldiers in Colorado Springs and also includes an Alaska Army National Guard battalion at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Detachment 1 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, comprising California Army National Guard Soldiers.