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SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. —
Second Lt. Zach Warlick became the first United States Space Force service member assigned to Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, following his in-processing June 22, 2020.
Warlick, who commissioned from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado on April 18, will work with the 50th Space Communications Squadron as a Senior Watch Officer.
“[The] 50th SCS and the [50th Network Operations Group] are excited about having Lieutenant Warlick join our team and we will leverage his abilities and talents heavily as we transition to the Space Force,” said Lt. Col. Shane Warren, 50th SCS commander.
Warlick said his journey to the USSF “was a speedy process” that occurred before graduation from USAFA. Warlick said his USAFA commander, Lt. Col. Jordan Filer, suggested those interested in joining the USSF sign up.
“They told us not to get our hopes up because there were only four slots,” Warlick said. “Being one of the four selected was a cool experience and I’m honored to say I was chosen. I think one thing that helped me was having prior experience in space communications as an enlisted member.”
Prior to USAFA, Warlick worked cyber security at Fairchild AFB, Washington, and noted his work schedule helped him improve his work.
“[Cyber security is] heavily tasked and [leadership tries] to put more on your plate than you can handle to give you that stressful environment to prepare you for things in the future,” Warlick said. “It was a strenuous period, but I enjoyed it and learned a lot.”
Warlick’s sponsor, First Lt. Tony Shea, 50th SCS Cyber Defense Correlation Cell for Space, training officer-in-charge plans to expand Warlick’s knowledge of cyber defense during his time at Schriever.
Shea said Warlick’s skills training will last around six months before Warlick heads to Keesler AFB, Mississippi, in 2021 for additional cyber training.
“We’re definitely going to get him through initial skills training as fast as possible,” Shea said. “We’ll get [Warlick] hands-on training on the floor after he does initial training [at Schriever]. Then, we’ll walk him through the processes just like we would any officer. We expect the same performance from each officer that fits in the senior watch officer billet.”
While at Schriever, Warlick’s duties will include handling cyber incidents that occur within the 50th SCS’s protected networks and monitoring the unit’s networks. Warlick said he’s grateful to be in this position.
“One of the things I’m going to strive to do is to give everything I have to this job and learn as fast as I can,” Warlick said. “Hitting the ground running and getting as proficient as I can as fast as I can will be beneficial for the people who come in later who are also Space Force. I’ll be able to mentor and guide them to be successful.”
Shea said he believes incorporating Warlick with 50th SCS and 50th NOG will build continuity for future USSF service members assigned to Schriever.
“I’m honored to be a part of history bringing in the first Space Force senior watch officer of the CDCC,” Shea said. “I’m humbled by that and I feel honored to do it.”
Warlick also said he’s grateful to be the first USSF member at Schriever and is prepared to lay a strong foundation.
“I’m very excited and eager to learn something new,” Warlick said. “My degree was in biology from the [U.S.] Air Force Academy. Getting back into the technical side of cyber defense is intriguing. I’m excited to get in and hit the ground running.”