AFA Attends Ribbon Cutting of First Space Force Facility in Alabama

June 27, 2024   |   By Ken Philippart

Ken Philippart, AFA’s Alabama State President, represented the Air & Space Forces Association during the ribbon cutting of the U.S. Space Force’s Space Development Agency Space Operations Center – South (OC-South), the first U.S. Space Force facility in Alabama, on May 21 at Redstone Arsenal.

The event opened with the posting of the colors by the Huntsville High School Space Force Junior ROTC color guard. Huntsville High School is one of only 10 Space Force JROTC units in the country. Lt. Col. David Murphy, USAF (Ret.), a SFJROTC instructor and AFA member, accompanied the color guard to the event.

Numerous dignitaries attended the ribbon cutting, including Lt. Gen. Chris Mohan, Army Materiel Command Deputy Commanding General; Redstone Garrison Commander Col. Brian Cozine; Joe Fitzgerald, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army (Emeritus); Mac McCutcheon, Madison Country Commission Chairman; Joseph Pelfrey, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Director; Paul Finley, Mayor of Madison, Ala.; Dr. Mike Griffin, former Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering; and representatives for Senator Katie Britt and Representative Dale Strong. 

Mohan welcomed attendees and spoke about the importance of OC-South to the Redstone Arsenal mission. Heather Campbell, SDA’s Chief Operations Officer, talked about how the ops center came to be and the path that led to the ribbon cutting. The Madison County Commission Chairman emphasized the positive impact having SDA in north Alabama will have on the local community. 

OC-South will be made up of 70 DOD acquisition professionals, engineers, military members, and contractor personnel, making it SDA’s second largest organization.

Following the official ribbon cutting, guests were given a tour of the operations center. The fleet of satellites that comprise the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture, a network of satellites in low earth orbit, will be operated out of OC-South and OC-North at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D.  Each center will be able to operate the satellite network jointly or independently, providing resiliency and back up in the event of war or natural disasters.

AFA Alabama was honored to participate in the ribbon cutting and looks forward to supporting all military and civilian Guardians in the Yellowhammer State.