Who are the ‘users’?

4th Space Operations Squadron team members visit Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, to see the impact of their space operations firsthand. The Airmen toured the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, 509th Wing Command Post and a former Minuteman II Launch Control Center. (Courtesy photo)

4th Space Operations Squadron team members visit Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, to see the impact of their space operations firsthand. The Airmen toured the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, 509th Wing Command Post and a former Minuteman II Launch Control Center. (Courtesy photo)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

On Aug. 6 and 9, 1945, Airmen answered our nation’s call delivering two atomic bombs devastating our enemy.  Seventy one years later, Airmen from the 50th Space Wing are an essential component to ensure the 509th Bomber Wing remains postured to deliver thermonuclear weapons against any potential foe.

In October, I joined a group of 4th Space Operations Squadron Airmen visiting Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, to understand who the “end user” is.  The trip included tours and discussions throughout the 509 BW.  We had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, 509th Wing Command Post and a former Minuteman II Launch Control Center.  The group’s objectives were to understand who our users really are, gain an appreciation for their missions and comprehend Milstar’s role within the 509 BW. 

Our group’s first stop was at the 509th Operations Support Squadron to meet with Lt. Col. Ben Both and Maj. Charles Goetz for an academic discussion regarding 509 BW and 4 SOPS missions.  The day started with entertaining introductions where the pilots and space operators tried to avoid using “community specific” acronyms.  Both Goetz and Both fielded a plethora of questions as they meticulously unpeeled the various layers of the B-2’s mission and the roles of the task force, mission planning cell and pilot. 

The 509 BW is part of Air Force Global Strike Command. The wing ensures its personnel and B-2 Spirit bombers are highly trained and capable to conduct global operations in coordination with other combatant commands, services and appropriate U.S. Government agencies to deter and detect strategic attacks against the U.S., its allies and partners and is prepared to defend the Nation as directed.

The 509 BW organizes its B-2 Spirit bombers and pilots under United States Strategic Command and Joint Functional Component Command Global Strike to perform their wartime missions.  When called upon, a task force leads the wing’s wartime mission.  At that time, the wing’s mission planning cell takes the Combatant Command’s Operation Plan and finalizes the tactical level details to achieve the tasked objectives.  These details are disseminated to the squadron pilots to execute.  

The 50th Space Wing is an essential link for ensuring the B-2 Spirit bombers and pilots are successful in executing their assigned wartime mission.  When mission execution approaches, the pilots preflight check the B-2. 

Potential adversaries believe targeting space assets like those at the 50 SW can prevent the United States from successfully projecting American global power and reach.  Pilots should never have to question whether the space effects 50 SW provides are available.  Ensuring the space link to the B-2 is our responsibility Team 5-0.  This link requires 50th Operations Group and 50th Network Operations Group Airmen to flawlessly perform their missions and it requires our operators to understand the various threats to be able to overcome them through innovative tactics, techniques and procedures.  This space link for the warfighters requires our mission planning cells to develop plans to set our space crews up for excellence.  This essential link is why we are organizing under a Space Mission Task Force and training our Airmen to prepare for war in the Information Age.