30th Anniversary of Operation Desert Storm:
American Jewish Service Members in the Gulf War
Darin Selnick, Captain, USAF
During Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, I served as a young Captain at Falcon AFB as part of the 1022 Combat Crew Training Squadron. The 1022 CCTS was part of the 2d Space Wing, AFSPACECOM.
Our job at the 1022 CCTS was to conduct all of the initial qualification training for the on orbit support to over 80 operational satellites of the highest national priority for Air Force Space Command. These were the satellites that provided the weather, navigation and communication for the Air Force and the other military services. The training was crucial, since one mistake in operating a satellite could effectively disable it and make it useless, impacting combat readiness and operations.
During Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, my job was the Chief, Curriculum Development and Policy Division. Not exciting, but critical in designing and ensuring the satellite training was effective and worked, so that the 80 operational satellites were operational and combat ready. These satellites had never been tested during a time of war, and the squadron was excited to test them out when Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm started in August 1990.
Being part of the 1022 CCTS during wartime changed the routine day to day operations, into an air of excitement. I had come to Space Command in 1988 to help the new 1013 CCTS at Peterson AFB get fully operational. After the 1013 CCTS was running smoothly, I was selected to be part of the team to set up and launch the newly formed 1022 CCTS.
The 1022 CCTS was part of the 2d Space Wing at Falcon AFB, a few miles east of Colorado Springs, although our Squadron was in a facility in Colorado Springs. During the war security was tight to enter the satellite operations at Falcon AFB. First you had to part a quarter of a miles away from the security entrance, then swipe your card, enter a code, and go into a booth. In the booth do the same routine plus a retina scan and weight check.
Many of us eager young officers volunteered to go to Saudi Arabia, but were told your job is here at Falcon AFB, nothing for us to do there. During the 43 days of the combat phase of the war in 1991, the 80 satellites that we supported and operated and were used during the war, operated flawlessly and helped the war to go smoothly and played a major role due to the critical intelligence and communications support provided to combat operations.
For my efforts during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, I was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal (First Oak Leaf Cluster).