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Space wing reservist earns headquarters award

An Air Force Reserve enlisted member stands near satellite communications equipment

Senior Airman Corey Riley, a 380th Space Control Squadron signals intelligence analyst, stands near satellite communications equipment at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, December 17, 2019. Riley was named the Outstanding Reserve Component Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Airman of the Year for 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Frank Casciotta)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

A Reserve Citizen Airman with the 380th Space Control Squadron earned the Outstanding Air Reserve Component Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Airman of the Year award for 2019.

Senior Airman Corey Riley, a signals intelligence analyst assigned to a squadron within in the 310th Space Wing, on Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado, received the award for his efforts during a deployment supporting United States Indo-Pacific Command operations last year.

Riley worked alongside joint and coalition forces to develop, validate and implement new tactics to expand electronic warfare. He was also selected to be the subject matter expert for new USINDOPACOM missions and played a major role building the intelligence and space fusion standards used by the joint command.

As a signals analyst, Riley’s mission is to monitor, detect, characterize, and geolocate signals of interest and electromagnetic spectrum interference.

“We primarily monitor satellite communication links and ensure our forces are not being interfered with by adversary forces.” said Riley. “We can tell what type of equipment enemy forces may be using and locate where they are operating from.”

Picture a special forces team member with handheld satellite communications equipment. Those are some of the types of signals protected by Riley and other signals analysts and space operators. 

Before joining the Air Force Reserve, Riley spent 12 years working in the automotive industry. Feeling stuck and looking for a change, Riley said enlisting was a leap of faith based on the advice of a friend who served as a Navy intelligence analyst.  

“I wanted to be part of something with a broader impact – something bigger than myself, and it really paid off,” he said. “I feel I have a new found purpose and potential that automotive never could give me.”

“He epitomizes what a traditional reservist can bring to the table, said Master Sgt. Christopher Gracey, the 380th Space Control Squadron intelligence superintendent. “We have someone here who comes from an automotive background and he stepped into a space and electronic warfare mission set. We can recognize those talent levels and skill sets that aren’t immediately transferable on the surface. For him to come in, go to (technical) school, educate himself on the mission set, immediately volunteer for deployment and accomplish what he did demonstrates the caliber of the Airmen in the Reserve.”