Active duty, Reserve space range squadrons undertake Global Exercise Austere Challenge

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  • 926th Wing Public Affairs

The 25th and 379th Space Range Squadron Airmen from Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, participated in the Space Test and Training Range global command-and-control exercise Austere Challenge, which focused on security in the European theater, or area of responsibility, at Ramstein Air Force Base Germany, March 9 – April 4.

Personnel from the 25th SRS and their Reserve component, the 379th SRS, operated the STTR. Both units are assigned to Schriever AFB. While this exercise focused on combatant command-level training, it also included smaller field training exercises.

“The 379th SRS sent maintainers, operators, and engineers to Austere Challenge, so reservists were part of the entire exercise – from setup to calibration, then operations and finally tear down,” said Lt. Col. Sheila Wilds, 379th SRS commander. “It was a true TFI [Total Force Integration] team with reservists, active duty members and contractors.”

This was the largest deployment for the two squadrons and provided a space electronic warfare battlefield for blue and red force players to execute training objectives.

“A year and a half of planning and coordination went into supporting this large force exercise,” said Maj. Shawn Woodall, 25th SRS flight commander of standardization and evaluations and quality assurance. “Almost 34 thousand pounds worth of equipment and 28 personnel were airlifted to five locations across Europe.”

Woodall was one of the range control officers, monitoring the signal environment and making sure the players stayed within their bounds during the exercise.

Additionally, Woodall coordinated with his crew and other squadron members in theater.

“While deployed, the teams coordinated with white cell planning personnel and joint exercise participants from various locations,” Woodall said. “This coordination was essential to safe and secure operations during the entirety of the exercise.”

At the completion of Austere Challenge, exercise players debriefed Space Range representatives and white cell coordinators. The STTR members and their equipment returned home for reconstitution for the next mission.

“It was beneficial for everyone to work together and see firsthand the incredible level of experience our reservists bring to the fight,” Wilds said.

(Some information in this article was taken from a story written by Halle Thornton, 50th Space Wing Public Affairs)