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OG team ready for Guardian Challenge

VANDENEBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Preparing to compete in the Guardian Challenge, 1st Lt. David Shaffer, the 30th Operations Group team range operations commander, works in some extra practice before the competition begins here Friday, April 9, 2010. Guardian Challenge is an Air Force Space Command competition, held every other year between March and May, featuring teams from 10 AFSPC wings. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Satran)

VANDENEBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Preparing to compete in the Guardian Challenge, 1st Lt. David Shaffer, the 30th Operations Group team range operations commander, works in some extra practice before the competition begins here Friday, April 9, 2010. Guardian Challenge is an Air Force Space Command competition, held every other year between March and May, featuring teams from 10 AFSPC wings. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Satran)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 30th Operations Group Guardian Challenge team is scheduled to compete in the 2010 Guardian Challenge here April 9.

Guardian Challenge is an Air Force Space Command competition, held every other year between March and May, featuring teams from 10 AFSPC wings.

"The 30th OG team will be the spacelift operations crew for Guardian Challenge," said 1st Lt. Pierre Gregoire, the mission flight control officer. "Our mission is to command and control the Western Range to ensure the mission success of a Delta II WISE (simulated) consistent with mission requirements and flight safety constraints."

In addition to Lieutenant Gregoire, the 30th OG team includes 1st Lt. Dave Shaffer, the range operations commander, 1st Lt. Devin Zufelt, the range control officer, 1st Lt. Brian Guetschow, the senior mission flight control officer, and Senior Airman Adam Murphy, the aerospace control officer.

Leading up to the competition, the 30th OG team has prepared for Guardian Challenge with weekly practice sessions, or "rides."

"Each training ride lasts approximately two hours and it tests the team's response to emergencies, equipment malfunctions and area clearance issues," Lieutenant Gregoire said. "Inputs are dropped based on a predetermined timeline and team members are expected to multitask in preparation for a simulated Delta II launch. After each training ride, the team members come together to discuss how they handled the inputs and develop lessons learned to improve performance."

Now, on the week of the competition, the excitement is beginning to building among the team members.

"We've trained really hard and I know the Sharks (from the 45th Space Wing) don't stand a chance," said Lieutenant Guetschow. "I'm looking forward to bringing home the hardware to Vandenberg this year."

The 30th OG team faced some initial obstacles, such as financial and publicity issues, but these issues were all handled by the base community, Lieutenant Gregoire said.

"This support allowed the crews to focus on training," he said. "We are eternally grateful for their help and support, and we hope to make them proud at the competition."