Los Angeles Air Force Base -- The Global Positioning Systems Wing convened its newly re-established Annual GPS Partnership Council Conference with the support of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA. In conjunction with the Partnership Council the wing also held a Golf Tournament at Skylinks Municipal Golf Course and a Dining Out at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA.
The week started out with an afternoon of golfing with over 120 participants in attendance. A number of prizes were given away, to include four handheld Golf Buddys (GPS Range Finders), five Musty Putters, a driver, a golf bag, two weekend stays at a Marriott Hotel, and a hole was sponsored by MCR, Inc. giving participants the opportunity to buy a chance to win $10,000 if they hit a hole-in-one. It was a tough one, the hole was a long 182 yard Par 3. Unfortunately, the hole proved too hard to handle for the participants because no holes-in-one were recorded. The winner of the tournament was a team comprised of Craig Spiess, Capt Bryan Hogan, Sal Holguin, and Darryl Fukui from the GPS Wing, with a score of 18 under par for the course. They received a trophy, a check for $100, a GPS Wing coin, and a golf towel.
The Partnership Council convened on 20-21 May. This year's theme was "Tying the World Together...Partnering for the Future", which focused on the Wing's commitment to execute a consistent integrated national plan for Spaced-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing. The purpose of the council was to gather Government and industry stakeholders together to discuss military, civilian, and commercial users' perspectives on the present and future of GPS. This year's event featured a wide variety of speakers to include: Brig Gen John Hyten, Director of Requirements, Headquarters Air Force Space Command; Richard Brancato, Senior Advisor, Positioning, Navigation, and Timing, US Department of Transportation; and Battalion Chief Bob Toups, CAL FIRE - Riverside. Also, there were 17 exhibits displayed in the Gordon Conference and throughout the Schriever Complex courtyard that were open to all SMC personnel.
During this two day event GPS stakeholders were able to communicate and exchange the latest information and status on GPS. This forum provided opportunities to explore new ideas in the use of GPS, from first responder survival capabilities to more efficient business practices to get capabilities into the hands of warfighters sooner.
The feedback by Partnership Council participants was extremely positive and all are looking forward to the next conference. Col "JB" Borris, the Wing's Chair for this event commented: "We tried very hard to exploit the topics that the GPS community wanted to hear about. We were limited to the amount of people attending this year's event due to the size of the conference center and exhibitor space. Next year we will look for a larger facility so that we can also include our civilian industries and international participants," said Col Borris.
As a finale, the GPS Wing hosted a Dining Out with nearly 400 guests on the magnificent Queen Mary, with this year's theme, "GPS 21: Partnering to Guide 21st Century Warfighting." According to the Dining Out Chair, Lt. Col. Steve "Neander" Thalmann, "The Dining Out was the capstone event that allowed Partnership Council attendees to 'let it all hang out' and enjoy fellowship with old and new acquaintances." "During this event, attendees were treated to a great meal, some soft-hearted ribbing of some of the GPSW's leaders, a non-traditional grog bowl (it actually tasted good), entertainment provided by Hollywood entertainer/impersonator Fred Travalena, and dancing to the Army National Guard's 40th Infantry Jazz Ensemble," said Lt. Col. Thalmann. One unique feature of this event was that the GPSW hosted spouses of deployed members of the Wing and even connected in real-time to "Honorary Messes" located in Iraq and Afghanistan with some of the GPSW's actual deployed personnel. Finally, in the spirit of celebration, the GPSW recognized David J. Podlesney, Director, GPS Programs for Lockheed Martin, as the 2008 GPSW Hall of Fame Award Winner for his outstanding engineering leadership and technical performance leading the early delivery, successful launch, and record-setting handover of the first modernized GPS satellite ensuring uninterrupted GPS availability of navigation signals for military, civilian, and commercial users worldwide.
All Partnership Council events were well received by all in attendance. Continued emphasis on people working together to sustain and improve the GPS enterprise ensures that the position, navigation, and timing signals provided by GPS satellites will continue to provide world-class service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure GPS remains the world's premier space-based navigation system well into the 21st century.
Thanks to the outstanding support from the 61st ABW, Civil Engineering Logistics Squadron, Communication Squadron, Security Forces, and the Club, the GPS Partnership Council Conference was truly a huge success!