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Airmen Train for Space Operations During Vulcan Guard

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Colin Simpson,
  • 178th Wing

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

Vulcan Guard is a series of space-focused exercises integrating 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 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.

“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,” he said.

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

“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 for these types of exercises, able to accommodate many participants and provide the proper support for the required communications infrastructure.

“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 units to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and operations support for federal and state missions.