Monday, July 22

5th SOPS activates, bolsters Space Delta 9 objectives > United States Space Force > Article Display

The 5th Space Operations Squadron unfurled their colors during an activation ceremony on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, June 3.

The ceremony signified the inactivation of Delta 9’s Detachment 1 and the activation of the 5th SOPS which oversees operations of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, an experimental program designed to demonstrate technologies for a reliable, reusable, unmanned space test platform for the U.S. Space Force.

To begin the ceremony, Maj. Eric Wilson, Det. 1 commander, was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his exceptional conduct as commander. Wilson highlighted the promising future of the 5th SOPS under the command of Lt. Col. Latasha Spear.

“Fifth SOPS is under great hands with Lt. Col. Spear as I have no doubt she will ensure 5th SOPS is able to continue the great lineage of excellence that Det. 1 Guardians amplified, ensuring mission readiness for the USSF,” Wilson said.

The 5th SOPS was provisionally activated as Operating Location-A, 750th Space Group, on Oct. 1, 1992. However, its roots began in the early 1960s as the Air Force Satellite Control Facility which established one of the Air Force’s major roles in space – satellite operations.

Brig. Gen. Anthony Mastalir, U.S. Space Forces Indo-Pacific commander, served under the original 5th SOPS from 1995 to 1999 and shared his excitement about the activation of 5th SOPS under DEL 9.

“A heartfelt congratulations to DEL 9 and all the men and women of the 5th Space Operations Squadron,” Mastalir said. “I can’t think of a better mission to assume the legacy and lineage of the original 5 SOPS located at Onizuka Air Station in Sunnyvale, California.”

Mastalir also discussed how the 5th SOPS activation will affect the USSF at large, specifically how their mission will help ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.

“Space Forces Indo-Pacific is one of the many beneficiaries of the ground-breaking missions that will be executed by this new unit. The knowledge gained through test and experimentation at 5 SOPS will be instrumental in our goal to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Mastalir added.

During the ceremony, Col. Mark Bigley, DEL 9 commander, further expressed the importance and his excitement of the 5th SOPS activating and continuing a legacy of demonstrating technological advancements of the X-37B.

“The first members of 5 SOPS will continue to set the bar of excellence high as well as mark new heights for the future technology capabilities of the X-37B. It is with great honor I welcome 5 SOPS to the USSF,” Bigley said.

Master Sgt. Joseph Wood, 5th SOPS senior enlisted leader, revealed the colors and raised the guidon initiating the assumption-of-command ceremony for the newly activated squadron.

Service members watched as Bigley passed the colors to Spear, entrusting her to lead as the first commander of the 5th SOPS.

Prior to taking command of the 5th SOPS, Spear served as the DEL 5 division chief of joint fires and information operations, Space Forces-Space at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. During her time in this role, she led joint and combined personnel to deliver space electromagnetic warfare targeting effects and planning as well as command and control operations in alignment with Combined Joint Force Space Component Command.

“To the men and women of the mighty 5th SOPS, I am truly honored to be your first commander,” Spear said. “Fifth SOPS aligns with the objectives of the chief of space operations, Space Operations Command and DEL 9 by contributing to the spacepower of this nation as we collectivity strive to maintain a durable peace for ourselves and our allies in this era of Great Power Competition.”