30th Space Wing commander proud to serve with finest space professionals

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- It's hard to believe that less than two years after we left, my family and I have returned to Vandenberg Air Force Base. It's truly an honor to return here as your wing commander. 

As I said at the change of command ceremony, I believe Vandenberg is the most important base in the nation with respect to securing and advancing space power for the U.S. This really is "space country" -- how could we consider it anything less! Vandenberg is home to the nation's only joint operational command and control center for U.S. space forces; provides support to crucial operational missile defense capability, as well as critical satellite command and control at the Vandenberg tracking station; hosts the country's space schoolhouse and key NRO processing and support capabilities; and last but not least, executes the mission that is the wing's bread and butter - the spacelift, test, and range operations for which we are best known, as well as the mission and medical support that ensure we are always ready to execute. 

Across the board, it is your dedication and professionalism that ensures our great nation maintains its leadership in the space arena. We have a huge task - to maintain the tradition of excellence in the performance of our missions of launch, range, and expeditionary operations. 

As the 30th Operations Group commander from 2003 to 2005, I saw how you were committed to flawless operations, and I'm pleased to see you have continued in that tradition of excellence. On the launch and range side, what we do here when we conduct a launch has sometimes been described as a million simultaneous miracles, and we must always remember that our mission requires flawless execution and safety at all times. A launch failure not only means the potential loss of irreplaceable national assets, but could also mean the loss of lives on the battlefield. As members of the profession of arms, this is an unacceptable outcome. Total mission success is our standard, not our goal, and we perform this mission as a team, where each and every member -- blue-suit, civilian and contractor -- contributes to the mission's success. I challenge all of you to continue to meet this standard as we go forward. 

The recent launch of the Delta II with the Italian COSMO payload once again highlighted the abilities of an integrated blue-suit, civilian, and contractor team of professionals working together to ensure that our nation never loses its advantage in space. 

On the other hand, if you want to see how well we perform with respect to expeditionary operations, you just need to look at the number of Airmen we deploy in support of the Global War on Terror - more than any other base in Air Force Space Command. There are currently over 337 members of Team Vandenberg serving in the AOR clearly demonstrating superior performance and dedication. Again, it is the training and preparation that ensures each Airman is ready to make time-critical decisions or take crucial action that could make the difference in mission success or failure - or even save a life. They make us all proud each and every day. 

In the opening chapter of my time here as your commander, I have seen a team committed to both the total success of the mission and unwavering support of our Airmen. The members of Team V have come to exemplify our Air Force core values of integrity, excellence, and service, and as I look around I see the pride of being a part of something much larger than ourselves - to serve and defend our great nation as we conduct the launch, range, and expeditionary missions we are known for executing so well - and I am honored to once again be a part of this outstanding team.