8th Space Warning Squadron [8th SWS]
The 8th Space Warning Squadron activated at Buckley Air National Guard Base, CO, on October 1, 1999, and is part of the 310th Space Group, Schriever AFB, CO, the only space group within Air Force Reserve Command.
The 8th SWS, an associate unit to Buckley's 2nd SWS, operates the Space-Based Infrared System, a follow-on system for the Defense Support Program. The DSP is an early warning satellite program started in the early 1970s used to detect the infrared signature of missiles fired by enemy forces.
The 8th SWS is the first space unit to integrate Reserve and Air National Guard members into an active-duty mission from the beginning stage.
The 8th Space Warning Squadron was originally constituted as the 8th Missile Warning Squadron on 26 March 1986 and activated on 1 April 1986 at El Dorado AFS (later AS), TX, under Air Force Space Command. It was reassigned to the 1st Space Wing on 8 May 1987. While at Eldorado AS, the unit operated the AN/FPS-115 PAVE PAWS Radar.
The unit was redesignated as the 8th Space Warning Squadron on 15 May 1992 and reassigned to the 1st Operations Group. It was reassigned to the 21st Space Wing on 8 June 1995 before inactivating on 30 September 1995.
It was redesignated as the 8th Space Operations Squadron on 22 August 1997 and activated in the Reserve under the 310th Space Group on 1 September 1997 at Falcon (later Schriever) AFB, CO. It inactivated on 1 October 1998.
Redesignated as the 8th Space Warning Squadron on 30 July 1999, it was activated in the Reserve on 1 October 1999 at Buckley ANGB, CO, under the 310 Space Group, 1 Oct 1999.
A spider and its web dominate the 8th's unit emblem. An explanation of that emblem could aptly describe the unit's mission. The octagon surrounding the spider's web represents one of two PAVE PAWS radar faces which generate tracking beams represented by the web. The web's angling, 70 and 130 degrees, displays the coverage of the beams which reach out over the southwestern United States and beyond. Two missiles and a satellite trapped in the web represent the unit's mission of detecting ballistic missile attacks and tracking space objects. The "They Shall Not Pass" site became operational in May 1987 in the land of longhorns, barbecues and oil drilling.
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