Another opportunity to excel
By Brig. Gen. Susan Helms, 45th SW commander
/ Published February 14, 2008
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Yesterday, we rallied for our Guardian Challenge team who will represent us at the Peterson AFB in April. Guardian Challenge is the world's premier space and missile competition. Participants from each of Air Force Space Command's 15 wings and one center will be involved in the overall competition. The competition will determine the best ICBM, space operations and Spacelift teams within Air Force Space Command. Our primary competition for the Spacelift category is the 30th Space Wing, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
The Best Spacelift Team is awarded the coveted "Schriever Trophy." Winning is not a strange concept to the Sharks. We have a proven winning record - eight of the 11 times the award has been presented since 1994. And as you know, we are the reigning champions. I said it at the rally and I want to reiterate it here, I am confident we are poised to bring the title back to Patrick Air Force Base once again this year. We have an amazing team again this year and I am very excited about the opportunity to show our wing counterparts, Air Force Space Command - and the entire Air Force - how well we do our jobs.
Many of you may think this just an Operations and Launch Group competition. In reality, Guardian Challenge takes the entire wing to prepare the teams that represent us at this competition. Whether you're the training team writing scenarios and simulating responses, the lab tech helping to certify the competitors are medically qualified, the paralegal validating contractual agreements with our community partners, or the finance Airman making sure the teams TDY orders are processed, you are involved with the team's success.
But the competition is more than just fun and games. It is a forum for the Air Force to improve its space processes and capabilities through the medium of friendly competition. The competitors are evaluated in a simulation environment using the procedures and processes they are certified in to launch rockets in the operational environment. Yes, the best team has bragging rights for being the best, but we (the Air Force) then analyze the performance of each competitor and adopt some of the best practices to improve our ability to provide space affects to the warfighter.
While Guardian Challenge is obviously not a "just-for-fun" competition, I do expect for our competitors to have a good time while competing, and we'll do the same thing cheering you on. Whether you're on the competing GC team or not, we're all on the larger Shark team in this competition!
Nine out of 12 sounds pretty good to me and it's a good catalyst for a shark attack!