HomeNewsArticle Display

Office responds to Columbia disaster

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFPN) -- Within seconds of NASA's announcement that it had lost contact with Space Shuttle Columbia on Feb. 1, the Department of Defense's manned space flight support office here initiated its catastrophic incident checklists.

The DDMS mission is to coordinate NASA requests for Defense Department-unique capabilities supporting the manned space flight program, if search and rescue is needed.

The office is made up of only 36 people, yet charged with astronaut rescue and recovery, contingency landing site support, payload security and medical support.

Office staff quickly mobilized their rapid response team and coordinated with the U.S. Coast Guard to dispatch C-130 Hercules aircraft to patrol the coast of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico for falling debris.

For the first few hours, officials moved to thoroughly coordinate with many national agencies, including U.S. Strategic Command, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Military Command Center, the director of military support and the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center.

Later, as search-and-rescue efforts took place in east Texas and western Louisiana, office officials dispatched people to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, to assist NASA and FEMA in their recovery efforts. DDMS also had aircraft and crew on alert throughout the day in case additional support was needed.

Currently, DDMS officials are still coordinating NASA requests for additional Defense Department resources and passing those requests to the recovery team headquarters at Barksdale.

"Our sole purpose is to train for contingencies like the Columbia accident," said Col. David Dingley, DDMS commander. "But it's a job we hope we never have to do. When called upon, however, the entire team performed magnificently, and I couldn't be (more proud) of their performance under very tough circumstances."

"On behalf of the entire DDMS team, I'd like to convey our sympathy to the crew's families," said Navy Cmdr. Michael D. Masla, DOD Support Operations Center director. "We are very proud of the loved ones they have lost and the courage these families have displayed during this terrible tragedy." (Courtesy of Air Force Space Command News Service)

Engage

Facebook Twitter
.@Hanscom_AFB's #energy initiative has #USAF seeking industry input while exploring opportunities for wholistic ene… https://t.co/WaBaH1cgNr
RT @SecAFOfficial: Proud to announce the #USAF cut 100.5 years off unnecessary schedules from #acquisition programs. This is how we are fie…
RT @cmsaf18: What a great way to pay tribute to an incredible Airman and teammate: Purple Heart recipient Dylan Elchin's name to be display…
#USAF #Ophthalmologists provide comprehensive care to 262 #Guyanese civilians. These vision care specialists can tr… https://t.co/91L9t51sHY
#Airmen maintain #F16 Fighting Falcons at Campia Turzii, #Romania, as part of Theater Security Package 19.1. They h… https://t.co/0pAANJMo3j
A new travel payment process for pipeline students, initiated by the #AirForce Installation and Mission Support Cen… https://t.co/OcQzldU3OK
.@PACAF Gen. CQ Brown Jr. met with Mongolian & US senior leaders, affirming their growing partnership.… https://t.co/Pg5Ma2NFUQ
Nondestructive inspection specialists identify possible defects in systems & equipment before anything can become a… https://t.co/7OHMrlLE39
.@SecAFOfficial praises #Airmen, expresses gratitude in farewell remarks reflecting on her tenure as #AirForce secr… https://t.co/bv177Nr7nk
.@SecAFOfficial was honored during a celebration ceremony @Andrews_JBA May 21, 2019, an event which highlighted her… https://t.co/tMSo0I8KxO
RT @SecAFOfficial: Thank you to the #Airmen & families serving around the world for the #USAF. https://t.co/CYWpd8Aeuh
Today #USAF celebrates the rapid innovations and accomplishments of @SecAFOfficial, the Honorable Heather Wilson.… https://t.co/dVQM3A5DWF
RT @SecAFOfficial: Proud to have had the opportunity to be your wingman. https://t.co/gDMUq5yA7L
RT @SecAFOfficial: .@MIT is a leading institution for AI research, education & application —making this a huge opportunity for the #USAF as…
.@HQAirUniversity recently hosted @SecAFOfficial's 66th annual National Security Forum, enabling the sharing of per… https://t.co/qBlG5F69ah
#ICYMI #Barksdale Airmen deployed in support of @CENTCOM Bomber Task Force in early May @DeptofDefense. The #B52 is… https://t.co/o8yJgq72dm
Tomorrow the #AirForce will celebrate @SecAFOfficial's tenure as the 24th Secretary of the Air Force. #WatchLIVE as… https://t.co/mTuhuZaNxu
RT @DeptofDefense: Throughout the history of the @USAirForce, adaptation and innovation have played a key role in sustaining global suprema…
It was "Fangs Out" @HAFB for Exercise Venom 19-01 which aligned with Hill’s Combat Showcase. https://t.co/3UtNLRYcp1 https://t.co/5d3JW876IH