The Colorado Air National Guard’s 138th Space Control Squadron, in conjunction with the National Space Test and Training Complex, conducted a training event named “Neptune Falcon,” which took place at Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colorado, to test new capabilities for meeting wartime objectives in the space domain.
The exercise, held over 10 days in October 2022 at a newly created forward operating base by Airmen of the 138th, simulated real-world expeditionary operations and prepared them for upcoming deployments.
“This is a Secretary of Defense level joint interoperability exercise that includes aircraft from Air Combat Command, space participants from the 138th Space Control Squadron, Colorado Air National Guard, and the 25th Space Range Squadron, as well as a host of other participants,” U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Andy Gold, commander,138th SPCS, said.
There have been many significant milestones that the 138th SPCS has led along the way, according to Gold.
“This is the first time a U.S. Air Force or Air National Guard weapons system has ever connected to the Range Closed Loop Environment,” Maj. Matthew Thampy, assistant director of operations, 25th Space Range Squadron, said. “The RCLE provides a highly realistic electronic warfare system to train and test our systems.”
This is also the first time the RCLE has been requested by a combatant command to support a joint interoperability exercise, such as Neptune Falcon. Additionally, this marks the first Total Force event (integration of Active Duty and Reserve forces) in which the combatant command and Air National Guard unit employed the RCLE, paving the way for future support for the broader Department of Defense need of realistic, dynamic environments to support the warfighter.
“During this exercise, we are training to deal with crew dynamics, tactics, techniques, and procedures, as well as getting hands-on system time,” U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Lindsey Sequoia, 138th SPCS space control operator, and Neptune Falcon participant, said. “Getting that practice on how to respond in a real-world scenario is invaluable to me.”
Neptune Falcon also signifies a key Total Force Integration partnership for future training and test events involving the National Guard Bureau, Space Operations Command, and Space Training and Readiness Command.
“Events like this also meet key U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force directives for highly realistic training events/scenarios in preparing Guardians, Airmen for war,” Thampy said.
The 138th SPCS stood up in May 2019 and has rapidly improved the training environment to create the most realistic wartime scenarios possible, preparing space professionals for future wartime missions. Forward Operating Base Schriever is the latest iteration of technological advances in training for the members, which creates a superior training environment never before experienced by Air National Guard or Active Duty space warriors.