The 50th Operations Support Squadron is responsible for directing space superiority support operations for the Department of Defense’s largest composite satellite wing and global command and control network.
The squadron is a component of the 50th Operations Group and consists of approximately 185 personnel. It develops training requirements and directs support operations across eight weapon systems including positioning navigation and timing, military satellite communications and space situational awareness.
“The mission of the squadron is to enable combat effects by leading qualification training, intelligence operations and tactics development to support space and cyber operations,” said Lt. Col. David Gallagher, 50th OSS commander. “Our team has led the charge on changing the space operator culture from a support function to a warfighter mentality.”
“No longer a benign environment, we are working hard to train operators on the importance of delivering capabilities in a contested, degraded and limited operational domain,” he continued. “Our job is to educate students on the importance of Space Mission Force and their critical role in our continued success.”
The 50th OSS is composed of various sections working in synergy to ensure Airmen are prepared to deliver global capabilities for day to day operations. These sections include an instructor flight, curriculum development flight, student and resource management flight, intelligence flight and weapons and tactics flight.
The 50th OSS instructors provide Initial Qualification Training and Upgrade Qualification Training, graduating more than 200 students per year. The instructors provide the foundational and advanced knowledge necessary for students to become successful space operators.
Also leading the Instructor Qualification Course, the 50th OSS is responsible for qualifying both squadron line and staff instructors through a two-week program to establish a baseline of instruction across all mission areas.
Courseware developers author and maintain 12 courses for instructor utilization during class.
Currently, courseware development personnel are in the process of implementing a digital and physical 3D modeling concept. This capability will enhance student expertise of specific satellite components to allow greater knowledge and proficiency of their weapon system.
Additionally, intelligence and weapons and tactics personnel significantly contribute to advanced training scenario development within the Operations Group. Advanced training is critical in developing the next generation of space cadre to better understand the threat environment to anticipate potential attacks and operate through an attack if one should occur.
The resource management flight plays a significant role in ensuring we acquire and maintain an adequate “train like we fight” simulator environment.
First Lt. Skyler Awisus, 50th OSS Simulation and Project Management section chief, said being in his position has many rewarding aspects.
“My primary responsibility is to ensure the effectiveness of required training environment; this will allow realistic scenarios against a thinking adversary to prepare for a war that extends into space,” Awisus said. “I am the focal point between the space operations squadrons and the OSS to define the operational requirements and ultimately oversee the products from the contractor. The best operators come to the 50 OSS. We all have the same mindset and we want to get better so we can grow the next generation of space operators.”
New to Schriever is 2nd Lt. Albaro Pillco, 50th OSS student, who has yet to undergo space operations training.
“I feel fortunate to be here as a casual student and develop more of an understanding of how 50th OSS works,” Pillco said. “It is a great opportunity to receive hands-on programmatic experience and in-depth understanding of the threats we are currently facing.
“My goal is to be the best I can be,” he continued. “There’s a lot more to learn and I’m excited for what the future holds.”
The diverse capabilities of the 50th OSS are essential to the operations of the 50th Space Wing. From creating Schriever’s newest space operators to developing tactics that will ensure America’s space superiority, the men and women of the 50th OSS are at the forefront.
“There’s never been a more important time in space operations than now,” Gallagher said. “It’s interesting to see how the threat environment has evolved since I was a lieutenant, and the different challenges space operators now go against. It’s very rewarding to see students new to the Air Force, watch them develop into great operators and to ultimately have them come back as instructors so they can pump that expertise into the training pipeline. It’s certainly one of the best aspects of my job to see it come full circle.”
“I am honored and privileged to be part of the 50th OSS,” he continued. “It’s one of the most professional teams I’ve been a part of. “We have amazing people doing amazing things every day.”
The 50th OSS is crucial in all things mission-related, training and preparing the men and women who accomplish these critical tasks day-in and day-out.