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Team Blackjack celebrates GPS heritage

Matt Althouse, Air Force Space Command Headquarters, and Corey Madden, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation Federal, both 2017 GPS Lifetime Achievement award winners, display their trophies during the 3rd annual GPS Heritage Celebration at The Pinery at the Hill in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. They earned the awards for their longtime service and achievements during their combined 40 plus years’ service in the GPS program. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class William Tracy)

Matt Althouse, Air Force Space Command Headquarters, and Corey Madden, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation Federal, both 2017 GPS Lifetime Achievement award winners, display their trophies during the 3rd annual GPS Heritage Celebration at The Pinery at the Hill in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. They earned the awards for their longtime service and achievements during their combined 40 plus years’ service in the GPS program. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class William Tracy)

Maj. Gen. David Thompson, Air Force Space Command vice commander, addresses the audience during the 3rd annual GPS Heritage Celebration at The Pinery at the Hill in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. Thompson highlighted the importance of GPS and the advancements made in the space career field during his speech. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class William Tracy)

Maj. Gen. David Thompson, Air Force Space Command vice commander, addresses the audience during the 3rd annual GPS Heritage Celebration at The Pinery at the Hill in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. Thompson highlighted the importance of GPS and the advancements made in the space career field during his speech. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class William Tracy)

An Ice sculpture demonstrates GPS themes during the 3rd annual GPS Heritage Celebration at The Pinery at the Hill in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. GPS connects more than 3 billion people worldwide, greatly aiding both civilian and military life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class William Tracy)

An Ice sculpture demonstrates GPS themes during the 3rd annual GPS Heritage Celebration at The Pinery at the Hill in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. GPS connects more than 3 billion people worldwide, greatly aiding both civilian and military life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class William Tracy)

An Ice sculpture demonstrates GPS themes during the 3rd annual GPS Heritage Celebration at The Pinery at the Hill in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. GPS connects more than 3 billion people worldwide, greatly aiding both civilian and military life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class William Tracy)

An Ice sculpture demonstrates GPS themes during the 3rd annual GPS Heritage Celebration at The Pinery at the Hill in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. GPS connects more than 3 billion people worldwide, greatly aiding both civilian and military life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class William Tracy)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.- --

The 2nd and 19th Space Operations Squadrons, commonly known as Team Blackjack, held their third annual GPS Heritage Celebration,  commemorating GPS’s impact to more than 3 billion users worldwide, at The Pinery at the Hill, Friday.

“I’d like to thank all of you for being here tonight. It’s a true showing of the entire team that provides the world with one of its most important global utilities,” said Lt. Col. Charlie Norksy, 2 SOPS commander. “Through GPS, we show what amazing capabilities can be brought to the world when we have such a large team working together to achieve a common goal.”

Maj. Gen. David Thompson, Air Force Space Command vice commander, was the event’s keynote speaker and spoke of GPS’s importance and frequent use in daily life.

“It has revolutionized the world,” said Thompson. “How many of you tonight typed ‘The Pinery’ into your phone (using GPS) to get here?”

He challenged Airmen to reflect on what purpose means to them.

“I want you to reach a point in life when the sand in your hourglass has almost filled the bottom and you can look back and realize you lived your life with purpose and enjoyed every moment,” he said. “Purpose is what I think about when I think GPS, precision navigation, being a space operator and an Airman in the Air Force Space Command.”

After speaking, Thompson presented the 2017 GPS Lifetime Achievement awards to recipients Matt Althouse and Corey Madden.

Althouse was recognized for his years of service with the GPS program, which includes authoring the GPS Test and Evaluation Master Plan and developing, defending and executing the program planning and budget for GPS.

Corey Madden earned his award for his longtime service to GPS with projects such as masterminding the GPS Intrusion Protection Replacement effort and working as a key systems engineer for depot level support for the GPS control segment.

Together they have more than 40 years of service with the program.

“I don’t have any plans to retire. I’m hoping this award wasn’t a hint,” laughed Althouse.

Norsky concluded the event recognizing another successful year for GPS, and acknowledging a promising future for the program.

“I look forward to the next year of achievements, adding new milestones, and another year to add on to the rich GPS heritage,” he said.


 

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