VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
Col. Anthony J. Mastalir assumed command of the 30th Space Wing during a change of command ceremony July 12, 2019, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
Maj. Gen. Stephen N. Whiting, 14th Air Force commander and Joint Force Space Component Command deputy commander, presided over the ceremony, which transferred command from Col. Michael S. Hough to Mastalir.
Whiting praised Hough as a “phenomenal leader and mentor” who has “earned the respect and gratitude of the men and women of the 30th Space Wing, the local communities and all of Vandenberg” before welcoming Mastalir as the new 30th SW commander.
Prior to arriving at Vandenberg, Mastalir was the Deputy Director of the Space Security and Defense Program at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. He also previously served as Vice Commander of the 50th Space Wing at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo.
“Serving in the 30th Space Wing is a dream come true for me” said Mastalir. “When I was an ROTC cadet, I had the opportunity to observe an Atlas II rocket launch… Afterward, I knew I wanted to be part of the space enterprise, and space lift is where it all begins. It is the most tangible mission in Air Force Space Command… you can see it and at T-zero, you can hear it and feel it."
Mastalir continued by impressing upon the wing the importance of each member’s role within the mission.
“It is the most exhilarating peacetime mission in the Department of Defense, bar none, and we own it,” said Mastalir. “Every member of this wing plays a critical role in mission success.”
As the new commander of the 30th Space Wing, Mastalir will be responsible for the third largest Air Force installation at more than 118,000 acres, as well as approximately 11,000 military, civilian and contracted personnel at Vandenberg AFB. While in command, he will also be in charge of operations for the Western Range, assuring continued access to space.
“Make no mistake, building the Range of the Future is a number one priority for our MAJCOM [major command], and we must own our piece at every level,” said Mastalir. “This is going to require collaboration with the 45th Space Wing, Space and Missile Systems Center and Air Force Space Command to recapitalize our infrastructure, streamline our processes, and develop innovative solutions.”
Mastalir went on to ensure that Vandenberg’s culture and identity need not be lost in the collaboration process.
“This does not mean we at Vandenberg must sacrifice our cultural identity,” said Mastalir. “I’d argue we must leverage our discipline and prudence to help shape the solution. Nothing changes if nothing changes. We have the responsibility to be the change agents needed to safely and affordably increase our range capacity. No one in the world is more qualified to do so than the men and women of the 30th Space Wing.”