Commander looks forward to another great year

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- This time last year, we looked back at 2005 and celebrated a perfect 10 for 10 launch and range record, 535 Airmen deployed throughout the world in support of the Global War on Terror, and the "Excellent" overall rating we earned during the Operational and Expeditionary Readiness Inspections. 2005 was an awesome year and we had every reason to celebrate, but like anything else in life, we had room for improvement. Over the course of this past year, we took a look at our strengths and weaknesses and dug into the things we knew we could do better. As a result, today we are more focused, more precise, and more combat-ready than ever before.

2006 was quite a year, full of sterling accomplishments and record-setting mission impacts. Here are just a few of the many proud moments that I consider to be symbolic of the culture of excellence resident in each of us living and serving at Vandenberg. First, we executed flawlessly right when it mattered most to pull off an astounding 11 for 11 launch record that included: four Minute Man III ICBMs, a Pegasus, a Minotaur, two Delta IIs, two Delta IVs and a Missile Defense Interceptor. The interceptor scored a direct hit on the target and made history as the first Missile Defense Agency intercept from Vandenberg and the 30th Space Wing's most complex launch operation ever.

Second, throughout 2006, we were, and continue to be Air Force Space Commands's most heavily-tasked installation in support of the Global War on Terror, deploying an all-time record high 481 Airmen per Air Expeditionary Force cycle. Also, we were #1 in AFSPC and #1 in the Continental U.S. for individual medical readiness rates thereby proving without a shadow of a doubt that the men and women of Vandenberg Air Force Base provide relief in the area of responsibility as promised, on time, and fully capable of doing the job and accomplishing the mission flawlessly.

Our Company Grade Officers' Council also thrived throughout 2006 by hosting mentoring luncheons and professional development opportunities while, at the same time, volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters, food drives and Habitat for Humanity. In keeping with professional development, we also went back to our military roots and discipline by hosting a classic military dining out this past year that was complete with a superb guest speaker in Lt. Gen. C. Robert Kehler, great company, laughter, events steep in tradition and honor, and, most importantly, reinforced our culture as both a warfighting wing and a family that takes care of each other. Also, in 2006, our Airmen Against Drunk Driving team of command post controllers, volunteers and wingmen executed over 400 saves and worked around the clock to keep our base, community, and, most of all, you, our Airmen, safe.

Lastly, throughout 2006, we worked hard to get 18 months ahead of schedule in the activation of the new Western Range Operations Control Center, took two out of three AFSPC titles for the Schriever Trophy, best security forces team and best spacelift operations crew at Guardian Challenge, and won a number of services awards to include the Hennessy Award for having the best food service program in the command.

These are just a few of the many, many accomplishments and accolades that made 2006 absolutely superb! You took the standards you set for yourselves in 2005, elevated them to levels you never thought you could achieve, sprinted right on by and in doing so, realized unprecedented, historic success that will define the 30th Space Wing throughout 2007.

Finally, nothing is more important to me than your safety and security. I need you, your families need you, and your friends need you. Know your limits throughout the New Year. Be responsible, be mature, and be adults in the choices you make. I wish you nothing but the absolute best and I'm confident that we will rise to any challenge that will face us in 2007. Our goal is flawless launch operations; a culture where innovation is embraced by all Airmen, civilians and contractors alike; and where safety is paramount in all our endeavors. As a total blue-suit, civilian and contractor team we will succeed--2007 will be our best year yet!