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614th Air and Space Operations Center hosts first heritage day

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 614th Air and Space Operations Center held its first heritage day June 14, 2013, celebrating the unit's contributions and history. The 614th AOC supports the 14th Air Force mission and U.S. Strategic Command's Joint Functional Component Command for Space (JFCC SPACE) mission.  (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Jan Kays) (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 614th Air and Space Operations Center held its first heritage day June 14, 2013, celebrating the unit's contributions and history. The 614th AOC supports the 14th Air Force mission and U.S. Strategic Command's Joint Functional Component Command for Space (JFCC SPACE) mission. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Jan Kays) (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Col. John Wagner, 614th Air and Space Operations Center commander, welcomes nearly 400 personnel and family members to the unit's Heritage Day June 14, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Col. John Wagner, 614th Air and Space Operations Center commander, welcomes nearly 400 personnel and family members to the unit's Heritage Day June 14, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, commander of U.S. Strategic Command's Joint Functional Component Command for Space and 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic), speaks to a crowd of nearly 400 personnel and family members during the 614th Air and Space Operations Center Heritage Day June 14, 2013. She praised the 614th AOC's personnel and reminded them of their role in safeguarding the nation's critical space assets. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, commander of U.S. Strategic Command's Joint Functional Component Command for Space and 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic), speaks to a crowd of nearly 400 personnel and family members during the 614th Air and Space Operations Center Heritage Day June 14, 2013. She praised the 614th AOC's personnel and reminded them of their role in safeguarding the nation's critical space assets. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Airman 1st Class Michaela March, 614th Air and Space Operations Center counter space intelligence analyst, assists with the face painting booth during the 614th Air and Space Operations Center's Heritage Day celebration June 14, 2013. The event brought together nearly 400 personnel and family members. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Airman 1st Class Michaela March, 614th Air and Space Operations Center counter space intelligence analyst, assists with the face painting booth during the 614th Air and Space Operations Center's Heritage Day celebration June 14, 2013. The event brought together nearly 400 personnel and family members. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 614th Air and Space Operations Center held its first heritage day on June 14, 2013, celebrating and commemorating the unit's contributions and history.

"This was an important event that allowed us to bring our AOC and Joint Space Operations Center families together and honor their significant achievements in military space, let family members tour the operations floors, and celebrate where we've been, where we are, and where we're going as an organization," said Col. John Wagner, the 614th AOC commander and JSpOC director.

Similar to other air and space operation centers that integrate military air and space power in geographic theaters around the world, the 614th AOC provides the capability for Department of Defense's only JSpOC to integrate all military space efforts for U.S. Strategic Command's Joint Functional Component Command for Space, or JFCC SPACE, mission.

This includes identifying, tracking, and reporting all objects entering the space domain, all objects in the space domain, and all objects reentering the Earth's atmosphere. There are tens of thousands of objects in both near-Earth and deep-space, ranging in size from as small as a golf ball to as large as the International Space Station. All this is in addition to the myriad of efforts directly supporting each geographic combatant command this center conducts around the clock, every day of the year, from resolving satellite communication interference to providing increased warning to troops in contact.

The heritage day, which was open to family members, included a catered lunch, children's games, and a JSpOC tour.

Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, the JFCC SPACE and 14th AF commander, also attended the celebration.

She praised the 614th AOC's personnel and reminded them of their role in safeguarding the nation's critical space assets.

"Each of you ensures the timely delivery of space effects to our nation's war fighters," said Helms. "I am honored to take part in today's event that recognizes your hard work and dedication to our mission."

The general also addressed the family members.

"Thank you for the support you give not only to your loved ones but also to our mission. You play a major role in what we accomplish," said Helms.

With the standup of JFCC SPACE in 2006, the role of the 614th AOC became even more critical to the DoD and the aerospace community.

This became evident in February 2009, during the first-ever collision between two intact satellites in orbit. The collision, which occurred between Iridium 33 and Cosmos 2251, produced more than 3,000 pieces of debris. The 614th AOC was instrumental in reporting, tracking, and analyzing the collision's effects.

Since then, the center increased its notification to all owners and operators worldwide of any potential collision from that debris, which remains in orbit, and the debris generated from other sources. Moreover, it is moving forward to expand its ability to ensure command and control of military space forces in a congested, contested, and competitive space environment.

"I'm honored to have a great team, and this has truly been a fast-moving and exciting year that we all are very proud of," said Wagner. "From ensuring manned spaceflight safety, to advancing our ability to provide, protect, and defend our capabilities that underpin our nation's military power, it's amazing the impact our warriors have every day on operations around the world. We are truly standing on the shoulders of all those who came before us wearing the 614 AOC and JSpOC patch who built our foundation. This is a way to remember and honor their service as well."

Helms also remarked on the unique successes of the 614th AOC.

"Today you work side by side with joint and coalition partners providing capabilities that no other organization in the world can provide," said Helms. "To the men and women of the 614th AOC, all of you can take tremendous pride in the accomplishments this organization has had over the years."