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Airmen train for space operations during Vulcan Guard

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Colin Simpson

The Ohio Air National Guard’s 178th Wing hosted an iteration of the Vulcan Guard space exercise Aug. 10-11, bringing together personnel from all seven National Guard states that currently conduct space operations, U.S. Space Command and the Brazilian military.

Vulcan Guard is a series of space-focused exercises that integrates National Guard operations and intelligence personnel with U.S. military partners through the State Partnership Program, incorporating several diverse space weapons systems in realistic threat-based scenarios.

Maj. Gen. Edward Vaughan, director of space operations for the National Guard Bureau, and Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., Ohio adjutant general, visited the 178th Wing and met with National Guard Airmen and Brazilian military members participating in the exercise conducted at Springfield-Beckley Air National Guard Base.

“We will never go to war alone,” Vaughan said. “We’re going to go to war fully integrated with allies and partners. And so that’s what this exercise allows us to do. When you talk about the space mission, the United States is clearly the leader militarily in some of those capabilities.”

Vaughan added, “That’s where we are able to help develop those capabilities on their side appropriately, again, in coordination with Space Force, SPACECOM (U.S. Space Command) and others.”

Beginning in February 2022, Vulcan Guard is currently in its fifth iteration of the exercise series, with Ohio hosting Brazilian military personnel and Guardsmen from New York, Florida, Colorado, California, Alaska and Hawaii, both in person and remotely.

Harris spoke on Ohio's history of space operations and involvement in the current exercise.

“The Ohio National Guard and other National Guard states have been providing support to space (operations) for over 28 years,” Harris said. “So that experience is irreplaceable. And the transition from the Air National Guard assets to a Space National Guard would be almost seamless. What they’re doing today, they would continue doing tomorrow regardless of the name tag on their uniform. And that’s important.”

Col. Kent Kazmaier, 178th Wing commander, emphasized the expertise of the Airmen that conduct space operations.

“The Air National Guard has been involved in space operations for a long time,” Kazmaier said. “There is a lot of knowledge and experience that goes with that. This exercise incorporates not just the intelligence arm … but the operational arm, and to be able to bring all these units together and to forge those two items together and to have actionable intelligence — that intelligence, which is going to lead to the operational portion of it — is extremely important.”

Lt. Col. Christopher Graziano, NGB space operations program element monitor for Vulcan Guard, said the facilities at Springfield are supremely suited to conduct these types of exercises, including the capacity to accommodate a large number of participants and provide the proper support for the communications infrastructure that is required.

“The 178th has a unique facility that is probably unmatched, in my opinion, in the Guard,” Graziano said. “They have been super great hosts for the two years and five exercises that we have been doing this, so we keep coming back.”

The 178th Wing provides ready units to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as operations support to execute federal and state missions.