Son of LaPlace couple part of the Defense Support program

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 18, 2001


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – During America’s first world war, troops atop lookout towers were often forced to warn of impending air raids or danger by ringing bells, blowing whistles or shouting to alert those below. Only a couple of decades later, the invention of radar drastically changed the face of “early warning” forever, giving soldiers on the ground, in the air and below the sea time to escape possible disaster. Today, as we enter a new century, the son of a LaPlace couple is part of a team again changing the face of how we warn our nation against danger. Air Force Staff Sgt. William Lambert, son of William and Linda Lambert of LaPlace, is stationed at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., a key component in North America’s Defense Support Program. The DSP is an early warning system used to track missile launches, nuclear detonations and every man-made object in space. “I’m a member of the 11th Space Warning Squadron, which is the first line of defense in ballistic missile warning,” said Lambert, a 1989 graduate of East St. John High School, Reserve. “The squadron’s mission is to provide assured theater missile warning to warfighters worldwide through the use of satellites that monitor manmade objects in the earth’s atmosphere.” Monitoring space and missile activity is critically important to U. S. military forces stationed throughout the world because at least 20 nations currently have nuclear, biological or chemical weapons and the technology to deliver them over long distances. But just as important as the sophisticated radar systems are people like Lambert, trained technicians who operate or monitor the systems or play a much needed support role. “I’m a space systems operator, responsible for interpreting infrared data from DSP satellites and determining if missiles have been launched from any location on the planet,” said Lambert. Lambert works diligently knowing his efforts support a crucial cause – protecting Americans at home and abroad from space and airborne attacks. Although no American lives have been lost to a missile attack since 1991, Lambert aims to help extend that statistic indefinitely. “Our troops on the battlefield can find comfort in the fact that technological advances in weapons detection are making their lives safer,” said Lambert. Thanks to the support provided by airmen like Lambert, and five decades of advancements in early warning technology, American troops now have a virtual shield of protection from air and space attacks.