Field Engineering Readiness Laboratory, Air Force Academy, Colorado --
The 379th Space Range Squadron is a Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, tenant and Reserve associate unit to the 25th Space Range Squadron, which falls under the Nevada Test and Training Range at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Both units maintain and operate the nation's only Space Test and Training Range, providing Department of Defense customers a safe and secure environment for space systems testing, training and exercise activities.
The STTR mission relies heavily on all mission partners, including Regular Air Force members, government civilians, reservists and contractors, to execute the mission. Airmen from the 379th SRS travel around the world, often to austere locations to prepare joint forces and coalition partners to carry out their missions in a contested, degraded, and operationally limited environment. These operations include participating in exercises like U.S. Pacific Command’s Valiant Shield and U.S. European Command’s Austere Challenge.
The STTR’s total force team succeeds because both units work in great harmony. Our Total Force Integration demands our part-time Airmen in the 379th SRS demonstrate their ability to operate to the same standards as the active-duty force. This exercise provides the environment and opportunity to transport, set up, operate and tear down equipment in a training environment akin to what we’ll experience out in the field. In turn, this will increase our Reserve force’s confidence in their ability to carry out the mission, and provides a great opportunity to operations check current training materials and procedures. Ultimately, this hands-on training will ensure our unit’s readiness to support forces for operations in a contested environment.
The exercise is the culmination of roughly 12 months of planning, training and equipment preparation. Shortly before the April 2017 Unit Training Assembly, the squadron’s Mission Assurance personnel started prepping the equipment and working with the squadron’s engineers to develop network and Radio Frequency signal plans. For the final month leading up to the exercise, traditional reservists were positioned for maximum support, with the majority of them on orders for the week leading up to the exercise. This push was necessary to complete time consuming pre-deployment inspections that were essential to ensure the readiness of the equipment. In addition, MA personnel packed equipment cases and built the shipping pallets for transport to the exercise location. Once on site, the team set up and configured the equipment to conduct Space Range operations during the exercise.
During the exercise, STTR crews underwent rigorous operational training to reinforce the in-garrison training they normally receive. This confirms they are prepared to operate the satellite terminals, signal monitoring and support equipment when they deploy to austere environments in support of missions around the world.
The 379th SRS was originally activated in 1942 as the 379th Bombardment Squadron under the 310th Bombardment Group, 57th Bomb Wing, and deactivated in 1945 with the cessation of operations during World War II. It was reactivated with an operational mission on Mar. 3, 2013. The 379th SRS transferred from the 310th Operations Group at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, to the 926th Operations Group, Nellis AFB in 2014, after its mission was realigned under Air Combat Command. It maintains its operations at Schriever AFB.
Over the past three years, the squadron has participated in and prepared Airmen during exercises Austere Challenge, Anakonda and Juniper Cobra in Europe, Global Thunder, Global Lightning, Ardent Sentry and Red Flag in the United States, and Valiant Shield in the Pacific theater.