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Space command cancels Guardian Challenge

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFPN) -- Air Force Space Command officials have canceled this year's Guardian Challenge, the annual space warfighter competition held at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

The competition, slated for May 5 to 9, was canceled because the command needs its resources focused on day-to-day operations. The workload associated with training for the competition, plus the efforts required to actually conduct the competition would increase an already high operations tempo that includes more than 1,000 deployed AFSPC members.

"While Guardian Challenge provides a great opportunity to test our readiness and warfighting capabilities, the nation's space and missile warfighters are fully tasked," said Gen. Lance Lord, AFSPC commander.

This year's competition would have marked the 36th anniversary of the event, which began in 1967. It has only been canceled one other time, in 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War.

"This is a difficult decision to make because of the great legacy of this competition," Lord said. "We discover new tactics, techniques and procedures every year at Guardian Challenge, and it's a huge motivational event for our people. But the situation at our units demands we place our primary focus on our day-to-day missions. Canceling this year's competition was the right thing to do."

Guardian Challenge is the only space warfighter competition in the Air Force and pits the best-of-the-best against each other, determining the top space wing teams. The competition will resume in May 2004.

Competing units would have included the 21st Space Wing from here; the 30th Space Wing from Vandenberg AFB; the 45th Space Wing from Patrick AFB, Fla.; the 50th Space Wing and 310th Space Group from Schriever AFB, Colo.; the 90th Space Wing from F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo.; the 91st Space Wing at Minot AFB, N.D.; the 341st Space Wing from Malmstrom AFB, Mont.; the 460th Air Base Wing at Buckley AFB, Colo.; and the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB, Calif. (Courtesy of AFSPC News Service)

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