BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (6/1/10) – Airmen of the 137th Space Warning Squadron, Colorado Air National Guard, participating as Team Buckley and the 460th Space Wing, took home the coveted Aldridge Trophy for the Air Force's best Space Operations Wing in Guardian Challenge 2010, the world's premier space and cyberspace competition.
Established in 1994, Guardian Challenge is a competition among approximately 300 Airmen from nine wings and one center, who compete from various locations, from March 1 to May 19. Professionals in space operations, space communications, spacelift, cyber operations, combat communications and security forces compete against each to establish the best of the best in Air Force Space Command.
"The best of the best gather at Peterson Air Force Base once every two years in hopes of claiming top competition honors," said General C. Robert Kehler, commander, Air Force Space Command. "Everything we do begins and ends with our contributions to the joint fight, and Guardian Challenge is a perfect opportunity to explore innovative ways to provide space and cyberspace capabilities to best meet the needs of joint force commander."
Maj. Jarrod Moseley and Capt. Stephanie Meyers, both Colorado Air National Guardsmen, represented the 460th Space Wing and won the Best Space Operations team.
The pair trained hard for this title, but it wasn't done alone. They had a whole team of behind them who contributed to their success. "This was truly a team effort in getting their operations team ready for the competition," said Col. Loren "Skip" Johnson, 137th SWS commander.
The team preparation, squadron run-off, 14th Air Force run-off and Air Force Space Command competitions were held at the 137th SWS headquarters in Greeley, Colo., and that alone took a team to make happen. Senior Master Sgt. Amy Bond and Capt. Ken Defeo were responsible for writing the local competition and preparation scripts, and Master Sgt. Philip Whitley tirelessly coached the two-man pair. In addition, their training required extra time in the trucks for all the available operators to allow Moseley and Meyers to concentrate on preparation and competition.
"Stephanie and Jarrod stand on the shoulders of our training and (vehicle) shops," said Johnson.
In addition to the Best Operations team win, 137th SWS members were three of the five competitors in the 460th Wing's Guardian Challenge team. Staff Sgt. Randall Fischer, Staff Sgt. Mario Hernandez and Airman 1st Class Devin Casteel helped take home the trophy for best Security Forces Tactics team in the competition.
The Team Buckley security forces team trained in Greeley for more than three weeks and were coached by 137th SWS security forces member, Tech. Sgt. Travis Silvers. Upon hearing the news of their win, Coach Silvers talked about what a good feeling and rush it was to win. "It's been an amazing trip and these guys have just been itching to win," he said.
"Again, this was a team effort and I can't say enough about the leadership of 1st Lt. Kenny Kemplin and Chief Master Sgt. James Hoefs. The competition training meant long hours for the rest of our security forces personnel as they picked up the slack that allowed Travis, Randy, Mario and Devin to be at the level to take the tactics trophy," said Johnson.
"I can't tell you how proud I am of this entire unit and it warms my heart to see them receive the recognition that I see them earn every day," said Johnson. "It is with a humble sense of pride that all of us serve, and today ... the 137th family is the ’best of the best!’"
"We are extremely proud of each of our folks who contributed to this success and proud of how they represented the best of the Air National Guard, the Colorado Air National Guard, the 140th Wing, and Team Buckley. You are outstanding men and women and congratulations," said Brig. Gen. Trulan A. Eyre, 140th Wing commander.