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50th Space Wing’s satellites, ground systems buoy NAVSOC

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Scott Hodgkinson, Naval Satellite Operations Center Detachment Delta officer in charge, left, explains operations details to Lt. Cmdr. Dan Mintzer, who will assume the position in April, at Building 400 at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado Feb. 10, 2020. NAVSOC operates, manages and maintains assigned satellites and ground systems operations with its headquarters, which is located at Point Mugu, California. (U.S. Air Force photo by Marcus Hill)

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Scott Hodgkinson, Naval Satellite Operations Center Detachment Delta officer in charge, left, explains operations details to Lt. Cmdr. Dan Mintzer, who will assume the position in April, at Building 400 at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado Feb. 10, 2020. NAVSOC operates, manages and maintains assigned satellites and ground systems operations with its headquarters, which is located at Point Mugu, California. (U.S. Air Force photo by Marcus Hill)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

The 50th Space Wing provides assistance to a Navy detachment with use of its ground stations and satellites at Schriever and it continues to benefit the unit’s mission.

Naval Satellite Operations Center Detachment Delta operates, manages and maintains assigned satellites and ground systems and provides numerous forms of support including space control operations, global space support and space force enhancement.

The detachment assists its headquarters, located in Point Mugu, California, with a portion of those operations throughout the week. Twice per month, however, NAVSOC Det. Delta receives the bulk of headquarters’ work for practice to ensure they can handle the tasks.     

“The bottom line is you guys have all kinds of antennas around the world and we can talk to our satellites using some of the ground stations,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Scott Hodgkinson, NAVSOC Det. Delta officer in charge. “We use their ground stations when they slot us in. They slot us in all the time, so we’re always using the Air Force’s assets.”

NAVSOC Det. Delta operations wouldn’t be possible without the use of the ground stations at Schriever AFB due to its ability to communicate for satellites.

Its location at Schriever allows the detachment to correspond efficiently with satellites and serve Point Mugu. NAVSOC serves as OPSEC with ongoing organization should a situation occur at headquarters.

“If anything happens [at Point Mugu] – whether that’s scheduled maintenance or they need to evacuate for fires or something like that – we’re immediately the ones who will take all those operations,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Katie Casey NAVSOC Det. Delta.

That occurred in 2018 and allowed Hodgkinson and his team to assist headquarters during a fire in California.

From Nov. 8-21, 2018, the Woolsey Fire burned nearly 100,000 acres in California and NAVSOC Det. Delta handled operations for Point Mugu for seven days.

“We were able to hold operations for them until they figured out who was safe, who didn’t need to be there and who they could send out for us,” Casey said. “Our operators are trained well so they handled it well. It was a little bit more hectic and there was a little more keeping in contact with different and higher echelons, but that’s something that we do have to take over.”

The 50th Space Wing’s assistance continues to help NAVSOC. It’s a bond Hodgkinson is grateful to have at Schriever.  

“I feel we have a great relationship with the Air Force,” Hodgkinson said. “We’ve received wonderful support from the 50th [Space Wing]. I’m very blessed to be here and work with those guys. They work well with us and we’ve had no issues whatsoever with them.”  

Hodgkinson, who will leave his post at the end of March, hopes to continue the fruitful relationship with the Air Force and is confident operations will continue to run smoothly after his departure.

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