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Vandenberg’s Intelligence Flight keeping base informed

Senior Airman Chris Szopa, a 30th OSS Intelligence Flight intelligence analyst, shows his commander, 1st Lt. Ryan Skaggs, the location of a intelligence operation. Working with maps and the terrain of certain locations is a small portion of the intelligence gathering process.

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Senior Airman Chris Szopa, a 30th OSS Intelligence Flight intelligence analyst, shows his commander, 1st Lt. Ryan Skaggs, the location of a intelligence operation. Working with maps and the terrain of certain locations is a small portion of the intelligence gathering process. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Wesley Carter)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Knowledge is power.

This statement may be truer today than ever. The 30th Operation Support Squadron Intelligence Flight spends their working hours gathering information. Information that is vital to the global war on terrorism.

An intelligence analyst's job is to gather as much information about a topic as possible, whether the topic is force protection, threat analysis, pre-launch safety or many times here at Vandenberg, due to the unique launch mission, what is happening in space, said 1st Lt. Ryan Skaggs, the 30th OSS Intelligence Flight commander.

"In the intel career field you have to be able to work with other agencies for intelligence," said Lieutenant Skaggs. "If we didn't network with other agencies like the FBI and OSI, we would be operating in a black hole."

Once the information is gathered the appropriate people, whether it be people deploying or commanders, must be notified, he said.

"In this job, whether you are enlisted or an officer, you have to be prepared to brief a commander at moments notice," said Senior Airman Chris Szopa, a 30th OSS Intelligence Flight intelligence analyst.

The career field also briefs everyone being deployed on threats that the deployed locations might bring, Lieutenant Skaggs said.

"Part of getting the base ready to deploy is writing threat scenarios for the base exercises," Lieutenant Skaggs said.

The intelligence flight, a three man shop, deploys on a six-month cycle. Their mission stays the same while deployed. However, the means of obtaining that information changes, said Airman Szopa.

"We are out doing counter intelligence and counter insurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq," Airman Szopa said. "A mission that can put us in high-blood pressure situations."

Since its' inaugural year, 1947, the Air Force has relied on gathering of information to be successful in its overall mission to fly, fight and win. The 30th OSS Intelligence flight is part of a 60 year heritage that upholds a tradition of honor and a legacy of valor.