News | Dec. 7, 2022

NRO-Vandenberg spends Military Appreciation Day on the gridiron

By Staff

On Oct. 14, NRO Vandenberg (NROV) Commander Lt. Col. Matthew J. Hale headed a team of senior leaders to attend Lompoc High School’s homecoming football game. Lompoc High School is located about 20 minutes south of Vandenberg Space Force Base in northern Santa Barbara County, California. The evening also marked the high school’s Military Appreciation Day and the second straight year NROV participated as guests.

“We had the chance to be out in the community in a really cool way,” said Hale. “Our team was able to interact with the players and coaches in a variety of ways.”

Along with Hale, other NROV senior leaders included Maj. Mryamn Ruth, NROV Director of Operations; NROV Senior Enlisted Leader Senior Master Sgt. Chris Coleman; and Master Sgt. Marcus Sharpe, Flight Chief, 664 Cyber Squadron Detachment 44.

Frank Taitague, a contractor and NROV Lead Launch Communications Integrator, organized the event.

“The players experienced firsthand the sense of pride in our military and government contractors, who work together to support our great nation,” said Taitague. “As some of the players and coaches shared with me, it was great to walk hand-in-hand with our military at the game.”

(l-r) Sharpe, Coleman, and Hale at the pregame coin toss.

Beginning with a pregame speech by Hale, the NROV ambassadors walked through warmups and participated in the coin flip prior to kickoff. The NROV representatives received a standing ovation after they were introduced to the fans before the game and presented NROV patches to players and coaches.

“I hope we inspired a few of the young adults on the sidelines and those who attended to seek a career in the military or as a government contractor, to make a difference not only in their future, but the future of our country,” Taitague said. “A few of the players inquired about what the process is to join the military or become a defense contractor.”

The NROV team has already been invited to take part in a similar event with Lompoc High’s baseball team in the spring.

NROV provides operations, security, safety, communications, and integration support for NRO payloads launched from Vandenberg SFB. This includes maintaining and operating the Space Cargo Transportation System, which has transported more than 65 missions, including Hubble and several NASA spacecraft. NROV is also responsible for payload processing and hosts Detachment 44 of the 664th Cyber Squadron, which is responsible for day-of launch communications support, Defensive Cyberspace Operations in support of NRO launch mission, and execution of communications requirements for some NRO missions.