Commander thankful for Airmen commitment

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the many things we have to be thankful for in our lives. It is also a time to remember our fellow military members who will be celebrating this year far away from families and friends in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar; places that used to be answers to geographical trivia questions but are now a reality for our men and women. Our Airmen are protecting all of us while delivering the precious gifts of freedom and hope to millions of people. In fact, more than 500 Airmen have deployed from Vandenberg throughout this past year; answering the call in support of our missions throughout the world. They are providing a gift in which we should all be thankful as we sit down with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving.

I am thankful that we have Airmen of character in the military, willing to defend our freedom, and make tremendous sacrifices while serving thousands of miles away from loved ones. We are the heirs of the men and women who stormed the beaches of Normandy and faced down communism during the Cold War. The threat we face today as we fight the Global War on Terror is every bit as challenging as the wars that challenged our forefathers. We, as Airmen together with our fellow Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen are every bit as willing as those warriors who served throughout history to stand up in the face of danger, execute our mission and preserve freedom for generations to come.

I'm also thankful to be leading an absolutely superb team here at Vandenberg. It has truly been a great year. We recently demonstrated just how good this team is when we launched a critical weather satellite into orbit during the latest Delta IV mission. That flawless campaign followed closely on the heels of four successful ICBM tests and a first-ever missile defense interceptor launch from the shores of Vandenberg. We are delivering space power to our warfighters in the air, at sea and on the ground. Our Airmen are delivering critical capabilities that win conflicts and save lives. Each and every one of our Airmen is making a difference in the success of our launch, range and expeditionary missions; capabilities that are absolutely vital to the Air Force's mission of delivering sovereign options for the defense of our Nation and its global interests.

I'm thankful for the enthusiasm and energy Vandenberg's Airmen showed each other during Wingman Day this past week and for the commitment to excellence demonstrated in preparation for our upcoming Delta II, Atlas V and Minuteman III launches. The perseverance, dauntless courage, and love of freedom shown during those first Thanksgivings in America by the pilgrims lives on today in each and every one of you. Patricia and I wish you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving and thank you all for your service and sacrifice.