What’s your high ground: Installation support

  • Published
  • By Steve Brady
  • 21st Space Wing Public Affairs Office
The 21st Space Wing's missile warning and space surveillance has a global reach, but few realize its installation operations stretch far beyond the fences at Peterson AFB.

The wing's high ground is not only in space - it is in the installations the wing operates as well. In addition to operating Peterson AFB, the wing operates Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Colo.; Clear AFS, Alaska; Cavalier AFS, N.D.; Cape Cod AFS, Mass.; and Thule Air Base, Greenland.

Col. Chris Crawford, 21st SW commander, recently recast the wing mission and vision to highlight the great things the wing's Airmen do every day.

The new mission and vision include:

Mission: Operate and sustain global missile warning and space control capabilities and installations to dominate the high ground for America and its allies

Vision: America's most innovative and disciplined space wing -- leaders, globally postured to dominate the high ground

"The wing takes great pride in how it runs its installations," Crawford said.

Crawford detailed how he expects Airmen to dominate their high ground when it comes to leading and taking care of people.

How does the wing provide installation support at Peterson?
As the host installation for three major commands including Air Force Space Command, North American Aerospace Defense and U.S. Northern Command, and Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command - in addition to more than 50 other mission partners - the wing provides a safe and secure infrastructure for them to accomplish their unique and critical missions, he said, including base security, telephone systems and network operations.

What about the other installations the wing operates?
All of our installations have unique challenges. Thule, for example, is located 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle and is home to the Department of Defense's northernmost deep water port, Crawford said. It experiences complete darkness for about four months of the year, along with extreme cold. Our Airmen there face very large hurdles, but they are extremely disciplined in the execution of their mission - they know how to dominate their high ground.

Cheyenne Mountain AFS is mostly inside a mountain. The logistics and maintenance to keep the mountain operating are daunting, but the professionals there do a fantastic job. Clear, Alaska, another of our more austere locations, faces its share of hurdles with prolonged cold temperatures, and operates the only locomotive in the Air Force - to haul coal for their power plant. The challenges the wing faces on a daily basis are unique and grand in scale, but the Knights of the 21st rise to the occasion every time.

How does the wing support the military community?
The 21st SW also provides flightline support to Schriever AFB, the U.S. Air Force Academy and Fort Carson, quality medical care to Schriever AFB and those who live, work and are eligible for healthcare here. The wing has mutual aid agreements with the city as first responders to aircraft emergencies at the airport as well as fire support to local fire districts. The number of retirees in the local area is huge - more than 17,000 supported by our retiree activity office.

What does a mission support group do?
The 21st Mission Support Group is a 2,200-member group that provides civil engineering, communications, contracting, logistics, personnel, security and services support to a workforce of more than 4,800 personnel and their squadrons operating worldwide to execute their missile warning and space control missions.

The 21st MSG is made up of the people who make sure the base runs smoothly and effectively. They pay the bills, make sure the base stays secure, oversee telephone services, keep the facilities in good condition, keep the records and take care of the well-being of all the people stationed at Peterson, as well as retirees and members of other military services in the area.

What services does the medical group provide?
The 21st Medical Group ensures maximum wartime readiness by developing and operating a comprehensive community-based health care system in the Colorado Springs area that maintains the health and morale of Team Pete members. They do this by providing or arranging timely, quality medical service for all active duty members, their families and beneficiaries. The healthcare professionals at the 21st MDG deliver care through clinics located at Peterson, Schriever and Cheyenne Mountain. Members of the 21st MDG also deploy to provide medical support to Air Force operations worldwide.

What does a civil engineer squadron provide?
As part of the 21st MSG, the Blackjack engineers provide airbase planning, construction and land use management to integrate well our community and avoid impacts between civilian and defense activities. We use this asset management capability to regulate the lifeblood of the 21st Space Wing's missile warning and space surveillance capabilities worldwide - energy. As electrical energy continues to grow in cost, we try to cut expenses through conservation programs, excess infrastructure consolidations and alternative economic endeavors associated with any excess energy we produce. The emergency management, explosive ordnance disposal, and fire and emergency services functions fulfill mutual aid agreements with the city such as first response to aircraft and medical emergencies at the airport as well as fire support to local fire districts.

What services does the base provide for its mission partners?
The Wing's mission partners rely on the infrastructure we provide including installation protection, building and road maintenance, telephone and computer communications, the child development center and youth center, new housing, civilian personnel and so much more. We are proud of the relationship we have with our mission partners and look forward to continued cooperation.

What other services does the wing provide the base?
The Knights are outstanding in their base support including the fitness center, library, housing, recreation, dining and other quality of life facets that makes living and working on Peterson AFB an enjoyable experience.

What about outside the fences?
Peterson and its mission partners are a huge part of the community. We live, work, eat and shop in the area, and our $1.3 billion annual economic impact reflects that. Our Airmen provide volunteer services at food kitchens, local schools and so much more. We are an appreciative part of this community in every way.

"I want Peterson Air Force Base to be the best place to work, live and visit in the Air Force," Crawford said, "and we will provide the same support and advocacy for all of our geographically separated units."