Meet the GC contenders: Capt. Daniel Harper, 22nd SOPS

Capt. Daniel Harper, 22nd Space Operations Squadron.  (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Staff Sgt. Daniel Martinez)

Capt. Daniel Harper, 22nd Space Operations Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Staff Sgt. Daniel Martinez)

Capt. Daniel Harper, 22nd Space Operations Squadron.  (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Staff Sgt. Daniel Martinez)

Capt. Daniel Harper, 22nd Space Operations Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Staff Sgt. Daniel Martinez)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Capt. Daniel Harper, 22nd Space Operations Squadron, will be a contender during this year's Guardian Challenge. As a member of the 22nd SOPS team, he will go on to represent the 50th Space Wing during this year's competition.

What is your official duty title and what are your responsibilities?

I am a network crew commander and my responsibilities include being the 22nd SOPS squadron commander's 24/7 C2 director for the $6.2B billion Air Force Satellite Control Network. I am responsible for employment, network tasking order planning, execution and enforcement. I direct more than 400 military, DoD civilian and contractor personnel in daily AFSCN Operations employing eight worldwide remote tracking stations. Additionally, as a network crew commander I provide satellite operators with reliable and responsive support for 140 DoD, NASA, and National Agency spacecraft.

When did you join the Air Force and what inspired you to join?

I enlisted in the Air Force in July of 2000, after spending three years in the Army. I was inspired to join the military after growing up in a military family. Living all over the world while serving my country was something that always interested and motivated me.

What are some of your favorite personal career highlights?

Some of my favorite personal career highlights include the first time (and every day since) I put on my uniform; realizing that I was part of something much bigger than me. The days after 9/11 were another personal career highlight. In spite of the tragedy, it was a tremendous honor to be able to serve our nation in a time of great tragedy. While millions sat at home wishing they could do something, I was able to go to work and directly help out deploying shortly thereafter. Those were some of the longest most rewarding days of my career. Another personal career highlight was earning my degree and commission.

What are your favorite hobbies?

In my free time I enjoy doing anything dealing with sports, or being outdoors. I am a huge college football fan (Go Dawgs!) and enjoy riding my motorcycle in the summer.

What are you doing to prepare for the Guardian Challenge?

To prepare for GC we are studying our technical orders and regulations. We are working to learn as much about our weapon system as we can so that we are the most proficient GC team in Air Force Space Command. We are also taking training rides to ensure our team's proficiency and communication is as sharp as possible.

What gets you pumped up to compete and win?

I am competitive by nature, so just the opportunity to compete gets me pumped up for this competition. Pride is another driving force. We are all honored to represent the men and women of the 50th SW and do not want to let y'all down!

What previous experience/exposure have you had with Guardian Challenge?

Having been a missileer, I have had friends and co-workers compete in Guardian Challenge, but I have never participated before.

Why do you think Schriever will win this year's Guardian Challenge?

Our training will be what sets us apart from the rest of the wings. The training that we have received has been top notch. A big thanks goes to our trainers who work behind the scenes, do a lot of the work and get little recognition. Thanks to Rickie Jones, Rich Hattrich, Capt. Jeff Jenkins, Capt Adam Singleton, all of our sim-cell helpers, and anyone else that I may have inadvertently overlooked. We wouldn't still be doing this without all of your selfless work.