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5th Space Warning Squadron keeps eyes in the sky

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Sarah Williams

A loud, wavering tone over an intercom signals service members to get to cover, but what if those alarms went off a few minutes late or did not go off in the first place?

The U.S. Space Force Guardians, from the 5th Space Warning Squadron Detachment 2, are responsible for disseminating warning, alerting, and cueing of infrared missile warning data to enable key leaders to make informed decisions on when to execute active and passive defenses.

“The data we send out is extremely important,” said U.S. Space Force Capt. Steven Torres, 5th SWS Detachment 2 commander. “Joint Tactical Grounds Station is the first line of defense. We’re providing early missile warning and battlespace awareness by using Overhead Persistent Infrared satellites in space. From the moment a missile launches we’re able to immediately detect and determine potential threatened areas and disseminate the information to critical operations centers”

The 5th SWS in Buckley Space Force Base, Colorado was recently activated to assume the JTAGS mission from the United States Army; a mission which the 1st Space Battalion accomplished with pride for over 20 years. Detachment 2 is one of four geographically separated units placed across the U.S. European Command, U.S. Central Command, and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command acting as the eyes and ears for U.S. military missile warning systems.

Members stationed as part of Detachment 2 are constantly working and training to ensure they uphold the safety of the service members deployed to these geographic combatant commands by ensuring timely reaction to incoming threats.

“The missile warning realm is very fluid and changes frequently,” said U.S. Space Force Sgt. Mitchell Swanson, 5th SWS Detachment 2 systems evaluator. “Since we’re looking out for the best interest of the U.S. and its coalition forces, it requires a lot of focus on training to ensure that the operators are staying up to date with how the world is changing.”

Amid the ever-changing landscape of the missile warning realm and the dedicated high-stakes training, there is pride embedded within those in the career field.

“It’s a good feeling,” said Swanson. “The job can be a little stressful, but it’s an amazing feeling knowing that we’re a shield that helps protect all the people within our area of responsibility.”

With the Space Force Guardians from the 5th SWS providing constant watch, the U.S. can continue to maintain a highly agile fighting force, leveraging the most advanced training platforms to dominate the warfighting landscape for the long-term security and stability of the region.