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45th Operations Group

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

45th Operations Group
Cassini-Huygens launch.jpg
Cassini–Huygens spacecraft launch, 15 October 1997
Active1941–1942, 1991–present
Country United States
Branch United States Space Force
TypeSpace Group
RoleSpace launch
Part ofSpace Operations Command
Garrison/HQCape Canaveral Air Force Station
Motto(s)Ad Astra Latin To the Stars (1942)
Col Thomas Falzarano[1]As of 15 July 2014
Patch with 45th Operations Group emblem (Approved 19 July 1967 for Air Force Eastern Test Range)[note 1]
45th Operations Group - Emblem.png
45th Bombardment Group emblem (Approved 6 January 1942)[2][note 2]

The 45th Operations Group is a United States Space Force unit. It is assigned to the 45th Space Wing, stationed at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

Up until 2003, the 45th Operations Group was responsible for program management and operation of up to five squadrons which perform all Eastern Range launch operations including Delta II, Delta III, Atlas II, Atlas III, Titan IV, Space Shuttle, Pegasus, and Athena space launch vehicles.[citation needed]

The Operations Group provides support to Naval Ordnance Test Unit operations. In support of space launch operations, the Operations Group coordinates training for the wing, manages all wing spacecraft services systems and facilities, and manages the Cape Canaveral AFS Skid Strip and the Patrick AFB air traffic complex, handling more than 24,000 aircraft operations annually.


  • 1st Range Operations Squadron. The 1st Range Operations Squadron provides range operations, operations support management, and scheduling services to National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the United States Air Force, United States Navy, and other Department of Defense partners.
  • 45th Operations Support Squadron. The 45th Operations Support Squadron assures access to space to fulfill war-fighting, CINC and national requirements by providing policy decisions, training, and airfield operations for the 45th Operations Group, while managing all airfield and air traffic control services for the 45th Space Wing. Its Launch Operations Support Flight Provides behind-the-scenes support for all launches. It helps coordinate tours and launch viewing for distinguished visitors and coordinating launch critical briefings and conferences. Its Airfield Operations Flight manages the Patrick airfield and provides air traffic control services in support of the space range and the National Airspace System. Its Current Operations Flight coordinates and implements wing-level policies and procedures which provide the structure for launch operations. Its Spacelift Operations Training Flight provides wing training policy and guidance for more than 100 space launch operators.
  • 45th Range Management Squadron. The 45th Range Management Squadron provides operations and maintenance services for all range instrumentation and critical launch facilities and quality assurance support to wing and delegated contractual efforts
  • 45th Space Communications Squadron
  • 45th Weather Squadron
  • Detachment 1, Antigua Air Station, West Indies. This detachment was discontinued on 7 July 2015. It provided telemetry and radar tracking data to support space launches out of the Eastern Range. When not supporting space launches, it provided radar tracking data for locating and cataloging space objects in support of U.S. Space Command's Space Surveillance Network. Operated as part of the space tracking mission for approximately 50 years, and required over US$10 million per year operational cost in it later years.[3]
  • Detachment 2, Ascension Auxiliary Air Field. This detachment provides telemetry and radar tracking data to support space launches out of the Eastern Range. When not supporting its primary mission, the unit has the secondary mission of providing radar tracking data for locating and cataloging space objects in support of the United States Space Command Space Surveillance Network.[citation needed]
  • Detachment 3, Patrick Air Force Base. This detachment, also known as the Guardian Angels,[4] coordinates DOD contingency support for United States human space flight programs. Its roots go back to the 1959 charter by the Secretary of Defense as the DOD Mercury Support Office. Later renamed DOD Manned Space Flight Support Office. Since its inception the office has continued to be the principle facilitator for all DOD contingency support to Projects Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo; the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project; the Space Shuttle Program, the International Space Station/Soyuz Program; the Orion Program; and the presidential commercial space initiative.[5]


World War II

The group was organized at Army Air Base, Savannah, Georgia in January 1941 as the 45th Bombardment Group and equipped with Douglas A-20 Havocs (along with a few DB-7s, an export version of the A-20).[note 3] Its original assigned squadrons were the 78th, 79th and 80th Bombardment Squadrons. The 17th Reconnaissance Squadron was attached to the group. In June the group moved to Army Air Base, Manchester, New Hampshire, where the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron was assigned to the group as the 92d Bombardment Squadron.[2][6][7][8][9]

Douglas B-18B equipped for antisubmarine warfare
Douglas B-18B equipped for antisubmarine warfare

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor the squadron began flying antisubmarine patrols off the Atlantic coast. In 1942, it converted to various medium bombers, primarily the Douglas B-18 Bolo, which was equipped with radar for the antisubmarine mission. The group moved to Dover Army Air Field, Delaware in May 1942 and to Miami Army Air Field, Florida in August. Its squadrons were dispersed to various bases along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts[2][6][7][8][9]

In October 1942, the Army Air Forces organized its antisubmarine forces into the single Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command, which established the 26th Antisubmarine Wing the following month to control its forces operating over the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.[10][11] The command's bombardment group headquarters, including the 45th, were inactivated and the squadrons, now designated the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th Antisubmarine Squadrons, were assigned directly to the 26th Wing.[2][6][7][8][9]

Space operations

See 45th Space Wing and 45th Launch Group for related lineage and history information

Reactivated as the 45th Operations Group in November 1991 under Air Force Space Command. Operated "Down-Range" facilities at Antigua, Ascension Island, and Cape Canaveral, Florida; launched DOD payloads into orbit; and collected flight data for evaluation of ballistic missile systems launched from Eastern Launch sites for DOD, NASA, and commercial customers. Provided support for DOD, NASA, and commercial manned and unmanned space programs.

There were several organizational changes in the wing in 1997 and 1998. Detachments 1 and 2 of the 45th Operations Group were inactivated on Antigua and Ascension on 1 June 1997, but they were replaced by Detachments 1 and 2 of the 45th Logistics Group on the same day. The 5th Space Launch Squadron was inactivated at Cape Canaveral Air Station on 29 June 1998, and its resources were absorbed by the 3rd Space Launch Squadron.

Launch operations were reassigned to the 45th Launch Group on 1 December 2003.


  • Constituted as the 45th Bombardment Group (Light) on 20 September 1940
Activated on 15 January 1941
Redesignated 45th Bombardment Group (Medium) in December 1941
Inactivated on 8 December 1942
  • Redesignated 45th Operations Group on 1 November 1991
Activated on 12 November 1991[12]



World War II
Since 1991
  • 1st Range Operations Squadron: 1 December 2003 – present
  • 1st Space Launch Squadron: 12 November 1991 – 1 December 2003[12]
  • 3d Space Launch Squadron: 1 April 1992 – 1 December 2003[12]
  • 5th Space Launch Squadron: 14 April 1994 – 29 June 1998[12]
  • 45th Operations Support Squadron: 12 November 1991 – present
  • 45th Range Squadron: 12 November 1991 – 1 December 2003
  • 45th Range Management Squadron: 1 October 2002 – present
  • 45th Space Communications Squadron: 1 December 2003 – present
  • 45th Weather Squadron: 12 November 1991 – present


  • Army Air Base, Savannah Army Air Base, Georgia, 15 January 1941
  • Army Air Base, Manchester (laer Grenier Field), New Hampshire, 18 June 1941
  • Dover Army Air Field, Delaware, 16 May 1942
  • Miami Army Air Field, Florida, 1 August – 8 December 1942
  • Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, 12 November 1991
  • Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, 1 November 1998 – present

List of commanders

  • Col James N. Posey, 12 November 1991[12]
  • Col Michael R. Spence, 31 January 1992[12]
  • Col Glenn C. Waltman, 20 August 1993[12]
  • Col Gary R. Harmon, 28 April 1995[12]
  • Col Philip G. Benjamin II, 9 June 1997[12]
  • Col Darphaus L. Mitchell, 24 May 1999[12]
  • Col Cameron S. Bowser, 11 June 2001[12]
  • Col Gregory M. Billman, 7 March 2003[12]
  • Col David D. Thompson, 29 June 2005[12]
  • Col Bernard J. Gruber, 12 July 2007[12]
  • Col James Ross, 21 May 2009
  • Col Denette Sleeth,[15] 14 January 2011
  • Col Douglas Schiess, 30 July 2012 - 8 Apr 2014[15]
  • Col Rob Quigg (acting), 9 April 2014 - 9 Jul 2014
  • Col Thomas Falzarano, 10 July 2014 – 10 July 2016[1]
  • Col Burton Catledge, 11 July 2016 - 30 Jul 2018
  • Col Steve Lang, 31 Jul 2018 - 10 Jul 2019
  • Col Mark Shoemaker, 11 July 2019 – present[citation needed]>



Explanatory notes
  1. ^ Currently the emblem for the 45th Space Wing. The group uses the wing emblem with the group designation on the scroll. Robertson, Factsheet 45 Space Wing (AFSPC).
  2. ^ Heraldry: Azure, three aerial bombs or, a chief potentee of the last. Motto: De Astra Latin From the Stars.
  3. ^ The United States impounded 356 DB-7s ordered for France or Great Britain Baugher, Joseph (27 October 2001). "Douglas DB-73". Joe Baugher. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  1. ^ a b "45th OG change of command". 45th Space Wing Public Affairs. 15 July 2014. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Maurer, Combat Units, p. 103
  3. ^ Wallace, 1 Lt Alicia (13 July 2015). "45th SW says Farewell to Antigua Air Station". 45th Space Wing Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 13 July 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "45th OG, Detachment 3; Making Sure an Astronaut's Worst Day Isn't Thei". Air Force Space Command.
  6. ^ a b c Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 781–782
  7. ^ a b c Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 776
  8. ^ a b c Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 775
  9. ^ a b c Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 789–790
  10. ^ Maurer, Combat Units, p. 437
  11. ^ Maurer, Combat Units, p. 389
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Robertson, Patsy (9 September 2008). "Factsheet 45 Operations Group (AFSPC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Archived from the original on 29 September 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  13. ^ Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 789
  14. ^ Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 120
  15. ^ a b "Col. Doug Schiess Assumes Command of 45th Operations Group". 45th Space Wing Public Affairs. 2 August 2012. Archived from the original on 22 July 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2016.


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

External links

This page was last edited on 4 September 2020, at 10:53
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