6th Space Warning Squadron

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6th Space Warning Squadron
6th Space Warning Squadron.png
6th Space Warning Squadron emblem
Active 1 Oct 1979-present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Space operations
Role Missile warning and space surveillance
Part of Air Force Space Command
Garrison/HQ Cape Cod Air Force Station
Nickname(s) 6 SWS
Motto "Ever aware"
Decorations Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA
Website capecodafs.com
Lt Col David R. Anderson

The 6th Space Warning Squadron is located at Cape Cod Air Force Station, in Sandwich, Massachusetts. It keeps watch for sea-launched and intercontinental ballistic missiles launched toward North America. The squadron is a geographically separated unit of the 21st Space Wing, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.


The mission of the 6th SWS is to observe United States coasts for incoming sea–launched or intercontinental ballistic missiles using the PAVE PAWS radar system. Also, the 6th is to determine the potential threat of the numbers and destination of incoming missiles; then report continuous information to the North American Aerospace Defense Command, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Air Combat Command, and NORTHCOM.[1]


The 6th Space Warning Squadron was founded at Cape Cod Missile Early Warning Station in August 1977. It was the first squadron in the country to be equipped with PAVE PAWS.[2] The squadron also had a detachment at North Truro Air Force Station from 1977 to 1985, when the station closed and operations at the accompanying radar dome were taken over by the Federal Aviation Administration. The 2165th Communications Squadron was a separate tenant at CCAFS until 1986 when it was merged with the 6th SWS.

Major Command

Previous Designations[3]

  • 6th Space Warning Squadron (1982-Present)
  • 6th Missile Warning Squadron (1979-1982)

Bases Stationed


  • Lt Col Paul S. Hamilton (14 Dec 2004 - 10 Aug 2006) [4]
  • Lt Col Craig Z. Lowry (29 June 1995-???)[5]



  • 2004 Partridge Slemon Award as North American Aerospace Defense Command’s most outstanding unit for its support of the common defense and partnership in protecting the U.S. and Canadian homelands[9]


  1. Global Security: 6th SWS Mission
  2. Global Security: PAVE-PAWS
  3. Rogers, B. (2006). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. ISBN 1-85780-197-0
  4. 21st Space Wing Roster of Key Personnel (as of 1 Aug 2006)
  5. AFHRA FOIA Req 09-0061: 21st Space Wing Roster of Key Personnel (as of 31 December 1996)
  6. AFSPC Special Order GA-62, 6 December 1999
  7. AFSPC Special Order GA-58, 6 December 1999
  8. AFSPC Special Order GA-09, 1 November 1997
  9. NORAD Public Affairs Post Tuesday, May 3, 2005


PAVE PAWS generates information on the location and velocity of earth-orbiting satellites to NORAD.

External links