Commander bids farewell to Airmen

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- This week's commentary is my last opportunity to speak to you, the men and women of the 30th Space Wing.

 First, let there be no doubt that the things we did together as a Wing, everything from the picture-perfect launches to the mission-critical range operations to the all-time high record deployments in support of the Global War on Terror, were only possible through the individual efforts each of you put forth day in and day out. I am profoundly grateful to you for giving me the honor to work with you as we flawlessly executed our launch, range and expeditionary missions. As I look back on the past 20 months, it is clear to me that this has been a time of unprecedented and historic transformation. Every organization in this Wing has positively impacted our Air Force through the efforts of the best professionals in any warfighting unit. 

Whether it's space launch, mission support, medical readiness, or the many missions of our Associate Units, you have delivered your jobs with a level of perfection and attention to detail that you never knew was possible. You flawlessly delivered an 18 for 18 launch record that placed critical, one-of-a-kind payloads in orbit that, right now, are providing Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen half a world away with the capabilities they need to save lives and win battles. 

In June of 2005, I stated that, "We must never forget that our mission requires absolute perfection and safety every minute of every day. I also added that, "Failure on launch could easily translate to failure on the battlefield and that is simply unacceptable."  Well, I'm proud to say that it is undeniably apparent that those words rang true and resonated with our blue-suit, civilian, and contractor team in every way possible throughout every step, procedure, process and review. 

I'm very grateful to the critical contributions you have made to the Global War on Terror. Let me leave you with three thoughts--first, never forget that mission is your #1 priority; maintain that high level of attention to detail necessary to conduct our Launch, Range and Expeditionary missions. But the mission will not happen unless you take care of our Airmen and their families; they are the glue that makes this wing function. Second, do your job--do it better than everybody else and better than anyone else ever did. The Air Force will soon embark on a course marked by unprecedented change in the way we accomplish our mission--changes that need to be made by every Airman at every level, from top to bottom. There has never been a time in the 60-year history of our Air Force that your contributions have been as valuable and needed...add value, do things right the first time, be receptive to change and strive for excellence...always. Third, and most important, keep a healthy balance in life. Take care of yourself, your family, and your friends--be that Wingman we talk about so frequently. 

As I move on to my next assignment, there is no title that I will wear more proudly than that of the 30th Space Wing Commander. Patricia and I wish you nothing but the absolute best both professionally and personally and look forward to hearing about the flawless launches, the relentless drive for perfection, and the many, many successes yet to be realized by the 30 SW and Vandenberg AFB!