Space Force Guards serve in Al Dhafra> US Central Command> See press article

Mixed with Air Force blue at Al Dhafra Air Base, a small handful of Space Force Guardians support the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing’s mission, adding some space power to air power excellence. of the Wing.

The newest military arm of the United States, the US Space Force, celebrates its second anniversary on December 20, 2021. And while the half-dozen Space Force personnel in Al Dhafra can hear a few “happy birthdays” in the corridors or take good – natural ribs, it will be mostly as usual.

Most of the Guardians of Al Dhafra are involved in some sort of communications work, including Spc3 Alex Coutinho and Spc3 Sophia Willis, both of whom work in the 380th Expeditionary Communications Squadron. (Specialist 3 is the equivalent of a First Class Aviator.)

The two airmen enlisted for the first term became Guardians, with Coutinho and Willis both officially transferred to the Space Force earlier in 2021.

Coutinho was still in basic Air Force military training when he learned of the opportunity to apply for Space Force.

“My first thought was ‘Hey, that looks cool’,” he said. “And immediately, I began to think that my work in the Air Force would align with the priorities of the Space Force, with an emphasis on vigilance and security in cyberspace. I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

Coutinho works in networking for the Communications Squadron, where he and other Airmen are responsible for maintaining the NIPR and SIPR mail servers and the CAF-Net Wi-Fi network.

“Cyber ​​defense will only gain in importance,” said Coutinho, who is deployed to the forward of the 78th communications directorate at Robbins Air Force Base, Ga. “You look at what other state actors are doing in cyber and that’s clearly important, our need to stay vigilant. The network has an impact on everything we do.

Willis was working with network servers for Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base in Ill. When she and her supervisor had a discussion about the New Space Force. Both decided to apply and both were accepted for transfer.

At ADAB, Willis works as the focal point of communications, solving customer issues with the local network.

“Working with the CFP broadens my knowledge of the entire cyber domain. I think you could spend 50 years doing this and still have more to learn, ”said Willis.

Spc4 (equivalent to a Senior Airman) James Holloway works in cyber operations for the 968th Airborne Expeditionary Air Control Squadron, which flies the E-3 Sentry aircraft at ADAB. He was assigned to Tinker Air Force Base when he learned he was accepted to transfer to the Space Force. Upon completion of his deployment to ADAB, he will be assigned to the Cheyenne Mountain space station in Colorado.

“Just the idea of ​​starting something completely new, for me it was the draw,” said Holloway, who first enlisted in the Air Force in 2017.

Holloway and the other Airmen all agreed that they were working in the IT field while their deployment to ADAB will benefit them in future Space Force operations.

“One of the areas where we see the greatest potential for threats, as a nation, is in the realm of cyberspace,” said Major Ariel Stark, a Space Force officer who is currently director of plans for the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing. at ADAB. “We need strong cyber professionals to counter this threat. “

Stark said as Space Force continues to grow and evolve after its second anniversary, it will be exciting to see what the future holds.

“Much of what Space Force will be remains unwritten,” she said. “For me and the others who are now Guardians, we are coming to be at the forefront of this new way of serving our country. “

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