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7 SOPS Citizen Airman recognized for innovation

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Laura Turner
  • 310th Space Wing Public Affairs


In today’s ever-changing and constantly evolving Air Force, Airmen are often encouraged by their leadership to be innovative and find the most efficient way to perform their job. First Lt. Brandon Sexton, while working on active duty at the 1st Space Operations Squadron on Schriever AFB, went above and beyond his call of duty to do just that.

By redefining the norms for Rendezvous and Proximity Operations data requirements, Sexton won the 50th Space Wing’s December 2016 Innovator of the Month, then went on to win 50 SW’s 2016 Innovator of the Year award.

“It was a combination of tasks that can commonly be categorized as software development that led to my nomination,” said Sexton. “I would say the mission area and the Geo-Synchronous Space and Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) system itself are still in the infant stages. The novelty often manifests system limitations or unplanned mission requirements, which in return opens the door for innovative solutions.”

As an active duty Air Force officer, Sexton saw his career as a space operator taking a turn toward administrative duties and decided to consider the Air Force Reserve as a career path.

“As most people with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) background, I have little interest in paperwork, PowerPoint, meetings and so on,” said Sexton. “Obviously, that doesn’t work as an active duty officer, but it is entirely possible in the Reserve.”

Sexton attended his first Unit Training Assembly, also referred to as a drill weekend, with the 7th Space Operations Squadron in July, 2017.

“I saw an opportunity to have a direct impact on an evolving mission area,” said Sexton. “Now I am able to provide some stability in the form of continuity for the future mission planners of 1 SOPS.”

Shortly after joining his Reserve unit, Sexton was invited to the 2017 Air Force Association Air, Space & Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein, during his annual Air Force Update speech, highlighted Sexton as one of four outstanding Airmen being recognized at the conference.

“Brandon works for Air Force Space Command and he’s a Reservist,” said Goldfein. “He’s personally authored three thousand lines of code for our GSSAP. Think about it as our neighborhood watch in space; making sure that we sort of know who’s out there, what’s out there and what’s going on.”

During his speech, Goldfein gestured toward Sexton and the three other Airmen.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is just an example, one small snippet, of the quality of the Airmen that we have in our Air Force today.”

Sexton said he felt both honored and grateful to be nominated and recognized by Air Force leadership.

“I was fairly surprised at all levels of this recognition,” said Sexton. “All the way from Innovator of the Month to recognition from Gen. Goldfein; it seemed like the nominations and awards were snowballing.”

Sexton’s parents have been major influences on his successful career in the Air Force, which he credits to their example of a strong work ethic.

“I can’t pretend I have worked nearly as hard in my life as they always have, but anything I have ever done is credited to their work ethic,” said Sexton. “They have worked hard their entire lives so I could choose any path I wanted. I feel it’s only fair if I return the favor by showing initiative and ambition now.”


Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein’s speech, the Air Force Update, can be found in its entirety at the link below:

  [25:35 marker for Lt. Sexton’s segment]