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Guardian Challenge kicks off with opening ceremony
Hawkman, the mascot of the 30th Space Wing, based at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., takes on a rival wing mascot May 8 during the Guardian Challenge 2008 opening ceremony at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. The GC teams descended on Peterson May 7 as they prepared for three days of GC events, including a golf tournament, space and missile forum and awards and dinner banquet May 9. The Guardian Challenge competition pits the command’s several space wings against each other to see whose the “best of the best” in areas of expertise, including security forces, communications, missile combat or satellite operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Larry Hulst)
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Guardian Challenge 2008 comes to a close

Posted 5/12/2008   Updated 5/12/2008 Email story   Print story


by Master Sgt. Kate Rust
Air Force Space Command Public Affairs

5/12/2008 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Guardian Challenge, Air Force Space Command's premier space and missile competition, reached its zenith after dinner the evening of May 9 as competitors anxiously awaited the results of the contest.

Riding a wave of enthusiastic chanting, Gen. C. Robert Kehler, AFSPC commander, took the stage and reminded the crowd of the crucial importance of skill-honing competitions such as Guardian Challenge. "Out there somewhere is a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine counting on us," he said. "And we will deliver every time they need us."

Competitions were held at bases around the command since March, pitting against one another approximately 200 space professionals in space communications; missile maintenance; spacelift launch; security forces and operations.

"During our time here at Vandenberg when we actually did the competition, we carried ourselves well and we did well in each of the three facets of the competition - the ops group, launch group and security forces," said Maj. Mark DelVecchio, the project officer for the 30th Space Wing Guardian Challenge team.

Maj. Gen. Thomas Deppe, AFSPC vice commander and competition judge, took the stage next and energized the audience even more. "All right, are you ready to post them?"
Above the roar, his call rang out, "All right let's do it!"

The Blanchard Trophy for Best Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Space Wing -
341st Space Wing, Malmstrom AFB, Mont.

The Schriever Trophy for Best Space Launch Wing -
45th SW, Patrick AFB, Fla.

The Aldridge Trophy for Best Space Operations Wing -
50th SW, Schriever AFB, Colo.

The King Trophy for Best Systems Wing -
Space Development and Test Wing, Kirtland AFB, N.M.

Overall team winners are:
Space Communications - 21st SW, Peterson AFB, Colo.
Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Maintenance - 341st SW
Best Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Team - 45th SW
Space Launch Maintenance - 45th SW
Space Launch Mission Assurance - 45th SW

Best individual team winners are:
Missile Maintenance
Missile Radio - 341st SW
Electronics Laboratory - 91st SW, Minot AFB, N.D.
Mechanical and Pneudraulics - 341st SW
Missile Maintenance - 341st SW
PREL Power, Refrigeration and Electrics - 91st SW

14th Air Force Security Forces
45th SW

20th Air Force Security Forces
341st SW

Best 20th AF Combined Security Forces and Helicopter Team
90th SW, Frances E. Warren AFB, Wyo.

Space Operations Crews
Spacelift Operations - 30th SW
Space Operations - 460th SW, Buckley AFB, Colo.
Missile Operations - 341st SW
Overall Helicopter Operations - 341st SW

Airman 1st Class Wilson Yabut was personally recognized by General Kehler for being the most junior member of the 30th SW Guardian Challenge team.

"It's always tough when you come back from a competition and you don't win," Major DelVecchio said. "But they said it out there often - 'There's going to be one winner, but we all come back a little bit more knowledgeable in our job."

Team V members gathered at the base theater May 12 to honor their team members and recognize those who contributed to the entire process. Major DelVecchio said those that are competing in Guardian Challenge in 2010 should begin planning early.

"Train hard and surround yourself with quality people who will instruct you and train you the right way," he said. "Your full-time job when you're a competitor is to train hard.

"What this competition is all about is not just making yourself better, and therefore the wing better," the major continued. "You learn a little bit about yourself and see how far you can push the envelope from an individual stand point."

The tradition of Guardian Challenge began in 1967 when Strategic Air Command opened its first missile combat competition, nicknamed "Curtain Raiser." Two combat crews from each intercontinental ballistic missile wing and a single combat targeting and alignment team competed to determine the best of the best.

AFPSC held its first Guardian Challenge competition in 1994, incorporating units from around the globe including Canada and Australia as well as representatives from the U.S. Navy. This year's contest included the United Kingdom, systems wings and members of the Department of Defense federal police.

"Tonight we honor Guardian Challenge competitors, the best in their business," said Brig. Gen. Ted Kresge, Director of Air, Space and Nuclear Operations, and the event's master of ceremonies. "The real Guardian Challenge is to take what you've learned back to your units, and make yourself and your units better."

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