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By Heather Heiney, 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 22, 2019
The 10th Space Warning Squadron operates the Perimeter Acquisition Radar Attack Characterization System Sept. 27, 2019, on Cavalier Air Force Station, North Dakota. The PARCS watches space 24/7, and is used for missile warning and space surveillance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Andrew Bertain)
Out in the middle of nowhere at the Air Force’s only remote CONUS location, there is a concrete structure that towers over Cavalier Air Force Station, North Dakota, providing data that helps protect and defend the space warfighting domain.
Master Sgt. David Hornsby, 10th Space Warning Squadron mission support superintendent, is in charge of a team that makes sure that Perimeter Acquisition Radar Attack Characterization System remains functional. PARCS plays a key role in providing missile warning and space surveillance data to North American Aerospace Defense Command and the United States Strategic Command.
Hornsby said that everyone in mission support at Cavalier is triple hatted. In addition to his main duties of overseeing contracted communications personnel who maintain the mission system, Hornsby handles superintendent duties and any communications needs that fall outside the contract, including maintaining the 911 system as well as the WiFi in the activities center and the gym.
“I don’t have an average day,” he said. “Every day is unique and has its own set of challenges.”
Whenever it’s needed, members from across the squadron take time on some Fridays to work together on projects across the base because the 10th SWS has to utilize all of its personnel and resources efficiently. For example, if picnic tables need to be put together or if billeting rooms need to be cleaned, they all pitch in to get the job done.
Not only is Hornsby working in a remote location, he and his family made the decision together for him to take the 15-month assignment alone. This allows his son to attend college and his wife to continue her career in Utah.
“It does get lonely from time to time, but we’re like one big family here,” he said. “You just have to find something to do. You can go to the gym, go fishing, go hiking – something to keep your mind off of missing your family.”
Hornsby said that throughout his career he’s tried to find something good about every assignment he’s received and that it’s extremely important to go in with a good attitude. Besides the people and the beauty of the local area, he also loves the mission of the 10th SWS, which is to provide flawless missile warning and space surveillance to ensure space superiority and to defend the United States and its allies.
“It’s definitely cool being at an operational base like this and the mission that we have here is extremely important,” he said. “This is a cool base. Although it’s small, we have a huge mission and a huge responsibility.”