30th Range Management Squadron: the evolution continues

Lt. Col. Jim Horne, 30th Range Maintenance Squadron commander, stands with Bill Prenot, 30th Space Wing director of plans and programs, at a Command Transmitter site, April 12, 2016, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Prenot was the first commander for the 30th RMS taking command in mid-2003. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ian Dudley/Released)

Lt. Col. Jim Horne, 30th Range Maintenance Squadron commander, stands with Mr. Bill Prenot, 30th Space Wing director of plans and programs, at Command Transmitter site 1, April 12, 2016, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Prenot was the first commander for the 30th RMS taking command in mid-2003. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ian Dudley/Released)

The meaning of the 30th Range Management Squadron Emblem

The motto “Publicitus” is Latin, meaning “In the public service,” or civil service.

Three elements make up the 30th Range Management Squadron (30 RMS) emblem.
They are:

1.	The Range.  The Western Range is represented by an instrumentation dish with associated electromagnetic energy and waves.  The Air Force yellow represents “the sun” and the excellence required of Air Force personnel.
2.	Sphere of Range Operations.  The WR sphere of operation is represented by three bands of color, the green representing land, ultramarine/reflex blue representing both ocean and sky, with the sky being the primary theater of Air Force operations, and black representing space.
3.	Guiding Principles.  The guiding principles for the 30th RMS are communicated by three stars, representing Integrity, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do.
(Courtesy graphic)

The meaning of the 30th Range Management Squadron Emblem The motto “Publicitus” is Latin, meaning “In the public service,” or civil service. Three elements make up the 30th Range Management Squadron (30 RMS) emblem. They are: 1. The Range. The Western Range is represented by an instrumentation dish with associated electromagnetic energy and waves. The Air Force yellow represents “the sun” and the excellence required of Air Force personnel. 2. Sphere of Range Operations. The WR sphere of operation is represented by three bands of color, the green representing land, ultramarine/reflex blue representing both ocean and sky, with the sky being the primary theater of Air Force operations, and black representing space. 3. Guiding Principles. The guiding principles for the 30th RMS are communicated by three stars, representing Integrity, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do. (Courtesy graphic)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Air Force is a constantly evolving machine, changing policies, creating new career fields, dissolving old and merging organizations. These changes create ripple effects that spawn new responsibilities and new Air Force Instruction manuals.

Before an AFI is written and the organization can find its place in the world, the person at the top has to invent the rules along the way, sometimes with little guidance.

Bill Prenot, currently the 30th Space Wing director of plans and programs, was the first commander for the newly formed 30th Range Management Squadron, in mid-2003. He was given 83 personnel to work under him, while being the only member who wore a uniform.

"Engineers were pulled out of the communications and range operations squadrons into this organization called the Range Maintenance Squadron," said Prenot. "By the time I took command June 3rd of 2003 it was called the Range Management Squadron. Before I took command, I stopped by to let them know I was on station, then ended up in seven hours of meetings getting educated on range standardization and automation; and then I got a fire-hose treatment of 'what is it that we do here?'."

Even though the processes used today are more refined than they were at the start of the 30th RMS, the constant and often unexpected evolution is a challenge that every commander experiences.

"RMS processes now used on a day to day basis didn't exist back in 2003," said Prenot. "Or if they did, they were under a different title or different control. Because in 2003 this was a conglomerated squadron, we had to basically define our mission. It was like walking through a dark hallway: where are the door knobs? Does this even lead anywhere? Every subsequent 30 RMS commander had to figure out what works better, all the while improving and shaping the organization."

The 30th RMS is ultimately the organization that keeps the range 'green' and prepared for launches, by monitoring the contractors and ensuring that each operation has the instrument support required by the launch customer.

"During the mission I hand over command and control to 2nd Range Operations Squadron, after the mission they hand it back to me," said Lt. Col. Jim Horne, 30th RMS commander. "I make sure that everything is maintained to the standards that our launch contracts dictate and require. We work very closely with 2ROPS to insure that the range is ready and architected to support that launch. We have a menu of sorts, and we look through it and select what we need to support each operation. The range is nothing more than a collection of instruments with a communications backbone to get the information back to the Western Range Operations Control Center."

Today the 30th RMS is much smaller than when it started, having a mere 31 civilians and four military. Other drastic changes have involved combining range contracts between the east and west coasts.

"Our contracts for range maintenance used to be handled locally for both the 30th as well as the 45th Space Wings," said Horne. "However, the contract was combined to be managed by the Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles and is now a joint contract for both ranges. Since I have gotten here it's been a process of trying to manage that change because it fundamentally changed almost everything we do. We had to change our mission, our vision and our focus. What we focus on now is the engineering behind the systems, and delivering systems and qualified contractors for the range operations squadron to command and control during launch."

As the 30th RMS continues to change under the guidance of Horne, the organization is prepared to evolve to meet the demands of space.

"When I first took it over in 2003 my first question was, 'what is this thing? How do we make it live?'" said Prenot. "And now the current commander asks the question, 'what is this thing today? And how do we make it work based on new mission sets?' It is a refining process that will continue as the needs of the range change."