Wing transforms, command takes notice

  • Published
  • By Heidi Hunt
  • 45th Space Wing Public Affairs

Airman Jordan King, 45th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency manager, was standing tall, ready for his room inspection in a newly renovated dormitory, when what happened next caught him by complete surprise.

Gen. Jay Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command, walked through the door to conduct an inspection.

“Your room looks outstanding,” Raymond said. “I know moms can appreciate a clean room. Do you mind if I call her now?”

King dialed his mom’s number and then handed the phone over to Raymond.

“Hello Ms. Villa, I’m here at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, on a visit of the newly renovated dormitory and I wanted to let you know that your son, Airman King, has an exceptionally clean room,” Raymond said. “I thought that you’d like to know that and that he is doing well.”   

That dorm visit by Raymond and Chief Master Sgt. Brendan Criswell, AFSPC command chief, was the first stop on a March 8 visit that highlighted several 45th Space Wing construction projects. 

The Wing has transformed some of its outdated infrastructure, making advancements, which can be seen throughout the base.  Those significant changes include the dormitory, fitness center, and the military working dog obedience yard.

The dorm renovation was a $9.2 million construction project that was finalized last month. Tech. Sgt. Trisha Cook, 45th CES dorm manager, said the project was designed to improve and restore the dormitory living space and give them a modernized look. 

The base fitness center, also known as the ‘heartbeat’ of any military installation, had nine phases of renovation for an overall cost of $1.44 million in transformations. Tammy Shelley, 45th Force Support Squadron fitness and sports manager, highlighted the new equipment and facility improvements and said, “it provides Airmen with the best opportunity to meet and exceed the Air Force's physical fitness standards.”

Renovations at the military working dog obedience yard have improved the quality of life for both the dogs and Airmen.  The $500,000 construction project installed a canopy that lowers the temperature 10 to 20 degrees and allows K-9 teams to train year-round while reducing the impact of rain, sun and heat on training operations.

Also during Raymond’s visit, he viewed the 45th Space Wing’s entry and access points to the installation, and visited the outdoor recreation center and fuel storage area. He also met with Airman Leadership School students, company grade officers, and leaders from the Air Force Technical Applications Center, prior to conducting an all call with Wing members.

Following the visit of Patrick AFB, the command team headed north to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, where Airmen introduced them to mission improvements there.  They met with 45th Space Wing mission partners, to include Kennedy Space Center, United Launch Alliance and SpaceX. 

One of the stops included the Vertical Integration Facility, where 1st Lt. Ajay Reddy, 5th Space Launch Squadron Atlas V responsible engineer, and Tech. Sgt. Michael Adams, 5th SLS Atlas V mission assurance technician, stood ready to share the mission with the general and chief.

The command team also received an extremely close look of the Crew Access Tower, or CAT, which will be used to support manned Atlas V missions beginning in 2018.

The VIF itself is currently being modified to support United Launch Alliance's next generation of launch vehicles, the Vulcan.

“Their trip to the VIF was a whirlwind summary of just how rapidly the space launch business is evolving, and how members of the U.S. Air Force support it with dedication and passion, every day,” Reddy said.

Another stop included a visit to Space Launch Complex 39A, and the Atlas Spaceflight Operations Center. There, the team showed him the hanger and how the system works.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to show General Raymond and Chief Criswell just how hard everyone is working to revolutionize the launch industry,” said Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing commander. “We have made significant improvements over the last two years and are driving toward our goal of 48 launches in a year and we are well on our way and they got a firsthand look at that.”