Vandenberg's ready for Challenge

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Rojek
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
As the moon and stars move silently over Vandenberg, a Delta II rocket stands ready to launch, a rogue train enters the base, security forces find an unconscious Airman in the woods and an intruder enters the control center.

Is it another action-packed Tom Clancy novel? No, it's just a few possible scenarios in the upcoming Guardian Challenge, which will take place March through May here.

A test of space and cyberspace warfighting skills, Guardian Challenge is the world's premier space and cyberspace competition. Unlike GCs of the past, 2010's competition will include cyberspace forces for the first time, while the missile forces, newly transitioned to Air Force Global Strike Command, will not participate.

This year, Vandenberg's competitors include the 30th Operations Group, 30th Launch Group and 30th Security Forces Squadron.

"The first step was to ensure we selected our brightest stars to compete, and that mission was successful," said Lt. Col. Sean "Hondo" Scott, the 30th Operations Support Squadron operations officer and GC lead at Vandenberg. "Vandenberg has also had the fortune of selecting a great team of trainers and instructors. These are the folks who deserve a tremendous amount of credit for giving of themselves to prepare competition teams and ensure the (Schriever) Trophy returns to Vandenberg."

The 2008 Guardian Challenge Schriever Trophy went to the 45th Space Wing out of Patrick AFB, Fla. However, the competition is more than a battle for a trophy; it will sharpen the skills and strengthen the camaraderie of the Air Force's space and cyberspace warriors.

"Not only does GC provide an opportunity to space units to compete and show off their talents, it also provides an avenue to develop new and better ways of doing business," said Colonel Scott. "It is not until you stress the mind and system that you fully understand what our true capabilities are. Whether you come from a space operations, launch operations or security forces background, status quo is not acceptable."

While the 30th and 45th Operations and Launch Groups have the advantage of conducting their respective competitions on their home turf, the 30th SFS team will travel to the Air Force Academy in Colorado to compete head to head with the respective security forces teams from the 21st, 45th, 50th and 460th for individual and team honors. The 30th OG is the first team to compete, with their evaluation taking place April 9. The 30th LCG are up next on April 22. Finally, the 30th SFS competes May 16-19.

At the May 20-21 GC Awards Ceremony at Peterson AFB, Colo., trophies will be awarded to the best wing teams, as well as to the best space operations, cyberspace defense, operations crew, space communications and security forces individuals and teams. The Aldridge Trophy is presented to the best space operations wing; the Schriever Trophy is awarded to the best spacelift wing; the King trophy is awarded to the best acquisitions wing; the Etchberger Trophy is presented to the best combat communications team; and the Polifka Trophy is presented to the best cyber forces team.

"I'm excited about Guardian Challenge this year," said Gen. C. Robert Kehler, AFSPC commander. "The GC season is a prime opportunity for the best of the best in Air Force Space Command to represent their wings and demonstrate their skills."

(Editor's note: This is the first of a four-part series on Guardian Challenge.)