45th Operations Group

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45th Operations Group
45th Operations Group - Emblem.png
Emblem of the 45th Operations Group
Active 1941-1942, 1991-present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Cassini–Huygens spacecraft launch by the 45th OG, 15 October 1997
World War II 45th Bombardment Group Emblem

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


The 45th Operations Group was responsible for program management and operation of 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.

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 Patrick AFB air traffic complex, handling more than 24,000 aircraft operations annually.


  • 1st Range Operations Squadron (1 ROPS)
Provides to the NASA, U.S. Air Force, Navy, and other DOD partners range operations, operations support management, and scheduling services.
  • 45th Operations Support Squadron (45 OSS)
Promote assured 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.
    • 45th Launch Operations Support Flight
Provides behind-the-scenes support for all launches. Acting as protocol, the launch operations support flight helps coordinate tours and launch viewing for distinguished visitors and coordinating launch critical briefings and conferences.
    • 45th Airfield Operations Flight
Manages the Patrick AFB airfield and provides air traffic control services in support of the space range and the National Airspace System.
    • Current Operations Flight
Coordinates and implements Wing-level policies and procedures which provide the structure for launch operations.
    • Spacelift Operations Training Flight
Provides Wing training policy and guidance for more than 100 space launch operators.
  • 45th Range Management Squadron (45 RMS)
Provide 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 (45 SCS)
  • 45th Weather Squadron
  • 45th OG Standardization & Evaluation Division
  • Det 1, Antigua Air Station, West Indies
Provides telemetry and radar tracking data to support space launches out of the Eastern Range. When not supporting space launches, it provides radar tracking data for locating and cataloging space objects in support of U.S. Space Command's Space Surveillance Network.
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.
  • Det 3, Human Space Flight Support
Detachment 3, 45th Operations Group, Patrick AFB, FL coordinates DOD contingency support for United States human space flight programs. Chartered in 1959 by the Secretary of Defense as the DOD Mercury Support Office (later renamed DOD Manned Space Flight Support Office (DDMS)), it provides support to the U.S. human space flight effort. 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 (ISS)/Soyuz Program; the Orion Program; and the Presidential commercial space initiative.


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

Organized in early 1941 as a First Air Force bombardment group equipped with A-20 Havocs, and later B-18 Bolos. After the United States entered World War II the group was ordered to search for German U-Boats and to fly aerial coverage of friendly convoys off mid and southeast Atlantic east coast from Delaware, then from South Florida, expanding its patrols to the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Straits.

Reassigned to Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command in October 1942 and inactivated shortly afterwards, its component squadrons being redesignated Antisubmarine Squadrons and reassigned to the 25th Antisubmarine Wing.

Reactivated and re-designated in 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 reassigned to 45th Launch Group on 1 December 2003


  • Constituted as 45th Bombardment Group (Light) on 20 September 1940
Activated on 15 January 1941
Redesignated 45th Bombardment Group (Medium) on December 1941
Inactivated on 8 December 1942
  • Re-designated 45th Operations Group on 1 Nov 1991
Activated on 12 Nov 1991.



  • 1st Space Launch Squadron, 12 Nov 1991-1 Dec 2003
  • 3d Space Launch Squadron, 1 Apr 1992-1 Dec 2003
  • 5th Space Launch Squadron, 14 Apr 1994-29 Jun 1998.


  • Col James N. Posey, 12 Nov 1991 - 30 Jan 1992 [1]
  • Col Michael R. Spence, 31 Jan 1992 - 19 Aug 1993 [2]
  • Col Glenn C. Waltman, 20 Aug 1993 - 27 Apr 1995 [3]
  • Col Gary R. Harmon, 28 Apr 1995 - 8 Jun 1997 [4]
  • Col Philip G. Benjamin II, 9 Jun 1997 - 23 May 1999 [5]
  • Col Darphaus L. Mitchell, 24 May 1999 - 10 Jun 2001 [6]
  • Col Cameron S. Bowser, 11 Jun 2001 - 6 Mar 2003 [7]
  • Col Gregory M. Billman, 7 Mar 2003 - 28 Jun 2005 [8]
  • Col David D. Thompson, 29 Jun 2005 - 11 Jul 07 [9]
  • Col Bernard J. Gruber, 12 Jul 2007 - 20 May 2009 [10]
  • Col James Ross, 21 May 2009 - 13 Jan 2011 [11]
  • Col Denette Sleeth, 14 Jan 2011 - 29 Jul 2012 [12]
  • Col Douglas Schiess, 30 Jul 2012– 8 Apr 2014 [13]
  • Col Rob Quigg (Interim), 9 Apr 2014 - 9 Jul 2014
  • Col Thomas Falzarano, 10 Jul 2014 - present [14]



Azure, three aerial bombs or, a chief potentee of the last. Motto: DE ASTRA—From the Stars. (Approved 6 January 1942.)


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  1. ^ http://www.afhra.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=9693
  2. ^ http://www.afhra.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=9693
  3. ^ http://www.afhra.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=9693
  4. ^ http://www.afhra.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=9693
  5. ^ http://www.afhra.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=9693
  6. ^ http://www.afhra.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=9693
  7. ^ http://www.afhra.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=9693
  8. ^ http://www.afhra.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=9693
  9. ^ http://www.afhra.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=9693
  10. ^ http://www.afhra.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=9693
  11. ^ http://www.losangeles.af.mil/library/biographies/bio.asp?id=13845
  12. ^ http://www.patrick.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123312528
  13. ^ http://www.patrick.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123312528
  14. ^ http://www.patrick.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123417749

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