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50th Operations Support Squadron develops space warfighters

Becoming a space warfighter at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.

Becoming a space warfighter at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely)


The 50th Operations Support Squadron is responsible for training future space warfighters at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.


Senior Airman Jelani Alcott, 50th OSS GPS satellite system operator instructor, said it is important for the warfighters of Schriever AFB to perform their jobs at an elite level.


“It is the job of the 50th OSS to provide the fundamentals and ground work for new and cross training Airmen to understand the systems they will work with,” he said. “We break down exactly what we do and put our students in the advanced warfighter mindset. We need to break down how they previously thought about how things work and teach them how space works.”


Alcott said although Schriever Airmen go to Vandenberg AFB, California, for technical training, they report to the 50th OSS at Schriever AFB, to learn specifics of how to work on an operations floor with the latest technology.


“By having our advanced training here, we’re able to ensure Airmen are more up-to-date on changes [to the systems], have more on-the-job training, and familiarize themselves with their future co-workers, leadership and the operations floors they will work on.”


Alcott said the 2nd Space Operations Squadron courses last anywhere from one to five months, with the average class having five students.


“The training taught by the 50th OSS is much more specialized than what is taught at Vandenberg,” he said. “While Vandenberg does a fantastic job of creating an understanding of space and our operations, we teach our warfighters the specific details on how to perform [their unit’s mission].”


Alcott said although enlisted personnel come directly from technical training, officers typically go from their commissioning source to Schriever AFB then to Vandenberg AFB for training and back to Schriever AFB for training with the 50th OSS.


“Officers focus more on administration and authorization,” he said. “For 2 SOPS, officers go through the satellite vehicle operator portion of the course, which covers more [information about] commanding, ensuring the [satellite] constellation is healthy, verifying commands, and making decisions on what actions need to be taken.”


Alcott said the 50th OSS has different instructors that train Airmen for assignment to the 1st SOPS, 2nd SOPS and 4th SOPS, all of which have missions with a global impact.


“An error with even just one of our satellites can have world-wide effects,” he said. “If our signal is inaccurate, if there is a signal degradation in the area, [an emergency responder] could go into the wrong house or to the wrong location, which could lead to a loss of life.”


Alcott said Airmen are required to score 80 percent or higher, successfully pass simulations and a final evaluation to graduate.


“By continually [developing] elite warfighters, we’re evolving space and cyberspace warfighting superiority,” he said.


Alcott said he enjoys being an instructor for the 50th OSS.


“It’s extremely rewarding to be an instructor,” he said. “Seeing your students grow and learn discipline, the command structure, crew communication and how our systems work, it’s really rewarding.”


Alcott said he hasn’t had a student fail a class yet.


“Despite my high expectations and [the] difficult coursework, the students continue to amaze me,” he said.


Airman 1st Class Phillipe Breault, 50th OSS student, said he is proud to be a part of the squadron.


“Being a part of the 50th OSS is special,” he said. “They have a legacy of success and a long history of [training] professional space warfighters.”


Breault said he feels more prepared to be assigned to a unit.


“With the classes I’m taking through the 50th OSS, I’m more confident in my abilities to perform my job,” he said. “The training I’m receiving is phenomenal and although there are times when [the coursework] can get tough, I’m excited to go to my unit and perform the duties I was taught.”

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