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U.S. Navy operates on Schriever

October 13, 2016 is the United States Navy's 241st birthday.
(U.S. Air Force illustration/Staff Sgt. Matthew Coleman-Foster)

October 13, 2016 is the United States Navy's 241st birthday. (U.S. Air Force illustration/Staff Sgt. Matthew Coleman-Foster)


In honor of the U.S. Navy’s 241st birthday on Oct. 13, 2016, we are highlighting a U.S. Navy mission partner.

Schriever Air Force Base hosts many mission partners, one of those agencies being the Naval Satellite Operations Center detachment Delta.

One may wonder how U.S. Navy personnel ended up at a land-locked Air Force installation, they are responsible for providing backup telemetry, tracking and commanding capability for the NAVSOC Headquarters.  Detachment Delta is capable of conducting two simultaneous command supports and has the same telemetry gathering capability as NAVSOC Headquarters.

“We fly the narrow band communication satellites, we have three constellations that we operate. It is mainly ultra-high frequency communications and we also have super-high and extremely-high frequency capabilities on those satellites as well,” said Lt. Jason Pool, NAVSOC Detachment Delta plans and policies department head.

The NAVSOC has a storied history beginning in April 1962 when it started as the Navy Astronautics Group to operate the Navy’s Navigational Satellite System familiarly known as TRANSIT.

NAVSOC personnel pioneered space system operations when they developed, tested and implemented procedures to operate and manage TRANSIT, which happened to be the Department of Defense’s first operational satellite system.

“In the 1990’s we became NAVSOC, now we provide voice communications to the joint warfighter on the ground,” said Pool. “One of the reasons the Navy has this responsibility is the ships that are in their fleet cannot trail a long fiber behind them and they have to be able to talk to each other. They can only effectively communicate with space-based assets, so a lot of the Navy assets are using the type of communications that we produce.”

Until 1994 the NAVSOC personnel at detachment delta were liaisons between NAVSOC and the 3rd Space Operations Squadron, which provided telemetry, tracking and commanding for Navy communication satellites. Now, their liaison mission is a secondary mission.

“Because we are located at Schriever Air Force Base, we are able to directly communicate with the many organizations at the 50th Space Wing. We rely on many resources such as Air Force Satellite Control Network and intelligence support from the wing,” said Lt. Cmdr. Matthew O’Hara, NAVSOC Detachment Delta, officer in charge.

“We do the same thing that 3 SOPS and 4th Space Operations Squadron do, we just do it on different satellites,” said Pool.

The NAVSOC personnel are not lost on the opportunity to work with their fellow brothers and sisters in arms in a joint capacity.

“The job itself may not be joint, but we really get to see the bigger picture of working with other services. Much like 3 SOPS, the Army controls their payload and they do that for us as well,” said Pool. “I do feel fortunate to be able to understand how the other service do things and to take the best aspects of each service and incorporate those aspects into what we do.”

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