By Senior Airman Alexus Wilcox | Peterson-Schriever Garrison Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. — U.S. Space Force Sgt. Evan Wood, Space Delta 9 — Orbital Warfare, 3rd Space Operations Squadron mission planner, receives the Schriever Space Force Base Falcon Top III Performer of the Month award at Schriever SFB, Colorado, Sept. 30, 2021.
The POM award is an opportunity for senior non-commissioned officers to recognize a NCO who excels in their work center.
The Schriever SFB Falcon Top III is a private organization comprised of SNCOs and Woods was chosen out of four other nominees for the POM award.
“[NCOs] are at the center of their missions, and this is just a way to say ‘thank you’ from their leadership,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kathryn North, 50th Force Support Squadron career assistance advisor.
Woods derives a sense of satisfaction from the tactical aspect of his work. He recalls a time, while working for the 3rd Space Experimental Squadron, where he developed the mindset of a “human optimizer”, a phrase he coined to describe someone that optimizes their skills and abilities.
“To me, creating the trajectories to accomplish the missions felt like a puzzle where I had to balance fuel, time, lighting and other orbital parameters,” said Wood. “While my first iteration of a plan may have been able to accomplish what we wanted, I always wanted to better my previous plan by trying to save every ounce of fuel I could, getting the lighting angle just a few degrees better.”
Wood’s passion for space operation coupled with his desire to be strategic landed him the perfect career field.
“Growing up, anything to do with space was fascinating to me,” said Wood. “I feel so fortunate to have been able to chase my dream at such a young age. I love knowing and figuring out how things work, both mechanically and in the software and coding. Spacecraft are the perfect mix of those.”
To achieve success, Wood has a few criteria for how to be excellent in his line of work.
“I would say creativity, being the subject matter expert on your mission system, and the ability to see the bigger picture are the biggest things that make a good tactician or mission planner,” said Wood. “Along with never, ever, giving up.”