OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Nebraska --
The 595th Command and Control Group celebrated its one year anniversary as a group in October 2017, and they’ve spent that year working to excel in their mission.
The group stood up in October 2016 in order to align under Air Force Global Strike Command and 8th Air Force.
The group’s mission is to ensure U.S. strategic deterrence and enable strategic assessment and global strike capabilities.
Col. Robert Billings, commander of the 595th CACG, said the group has met or exceeded almost all of its goals for their first year.
“It’s been pretty impressive on how the group as a whole got together and said, ‘Ok, this is new – how do we make it ours?’” Billings said. “They owned it, leadership set the goals and the plan, but the group owned it.”
The group’s goals are focused on four categories – mission, families, weapon system advocacy, and Airmen leadership.
One of Billings’ most important goals was to provide 100 percent aircrew manning for the group’s mission, all day, every day.
“That’s the main goal – you don’t want to mess that up,” he said. “We provided our aircrew operators and maintainers for the secretary of defense, the National Air Operations Center, the Strategic Automated Command Control System, inter-continental ballistic missile air launch control systems and other Global Strike missions.”
As Billings looks toward the group’s second year, he is focused on maintaining the excellence at which the group has operated.
“I would like to see increased support and sustainment,” he said. “Because now you have the founding leadership members of the group starting to depart. We need to make sure the organization continues to move forward as new leadership arrives.”
Maj. Andrew Kasperek, commander of the 595th Strategic Communications Squadron, said that the realignment under GSC has allowed his squadron to connect with other units within the major command with similar goals and problems.
“We are realizing the partnerships and the synergies that were always available but unknown to us,” he said. “There’s really a call and a desire to lash together. We realized there are a lot of other people outside of our group doing similar work. We’re figuring out who the other players are that are also struggling with similar problems, for years, and we come together and match up our solutions.”
Kasperek has also organized new training for his Airmen.
“We’ve been able to realize, over the last year, that we can leverage industries to be able to augment the training that is provided at technical school,” he said. “We’ve sought out other training that Global Strike provides to round out our Airmen’s training. We had never been to any of these trainings before.”
This focus on synergy and new routes for training has paid off for the group. The 595th SCS alone has won three MAJCOM level awards over the last year.
The 625th Strategic Operations Squadron has also worked hard over the past year.
“Our goal for the squadron was to ensure a seamless transition, and I think the team achieved that,” said Lt. Col. Hayley James, commander of the 625th STOS. “It's important to remember that we are all on one team with one goal: to provide a credible, lethal deterrent capability that ensures no adversary will wake up and say, ‘I have a chance against the United States today.’”
James said the 625th is devoted to ensuring that chance is nonexistent.
“Each and every person contributes to the inter-continental ballistic missile mission, which ensures every country knows they don't have enough firepower to beat us, and if deterrence fails our ICBMs provide a decisive response, launched from the ground or from the air,” she said.
Unique to Eighth Air Force and the 595th C2G, the 625th STOS includes Airmen who fly on the Navy E-6 Mercury and are capable of launching ICBMs (the majority of aircraft within The Mighty Eighth are bombers).
Billings said he is incredibly impressed with how the 595th CACG has performed since it stood up.
“It’s just amazing what they do every day,” Billings said. “Change is hard, and they’ve taken it in stride and executed the mission without failure. The nuclear mission isn’t going away, and the professional nuclear warriors of the group keep it relevant.”