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Perfection remains the standard; AFSPC commander lauds Wing's success, professionalism

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander, Air Force Space Command, accompanied by his wife Marjorie made his first official visit to Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Tuesday and Wednesday.

He obviously liked what he saw.

"Control of the battlefield really does begin here," said General Kehler, who assumed command six months ago at Peterson Air Face Base, Colo., during a special commander's call held in front of a packed theater audience Tuesday afternoon.

"Patrick Air Force Base is one of my favorite places to visit - and not just because it's here in Central Florida," he said with a smile. "It's because of people like you ...and how professionally you handle yourselves.

"Being in the space business gives you the opportunity to get instant feedback. You understand that perfection remains the standard, and you settle for nothing less. Believe me, it shows. And I can't tell you enough how appreciative I am for what you have done and will continue to do. This is the smallest Air Force since 1939 and we continue to ask you to do more with less. You have figured out how to do it. You are doing remarkable things and you have to know that we know it," he said with emphasis. "Our Space capability has shaped the way America fights," he added.

He also warned time and time again of the challenges the Air Force - and Air Force Space Command specifically - will continue to face now and in the foreseeable future.
"Space is a contested environment - the evidence is already there," he said. "We'd be irresponsible not to recognize that fact, and I think there will be cyber space challenges out there that we don't even know about."

He also added that the Air Force needs to be winning in the air, in space and in cyber space. "If we lose control of one, we lose control in all three."

General Kehler also emphasized the need to continue to develop space professionals, "even though we don't necessarily hire them to do that when they first join our Air Force team."
"The key," he said, "is to combine the right people, the right skills and the right team. It's all about combining the technical skills with the tactical competence."

And this, he said, is where the 45th Space Wing excels.

"I don't care if you work in communications, intelligence, weather, acquisitions, whatever... if you are in the 45th Space Wing - military, civilian or contractor - you are a space professional.

"You prove that every single day ...you make it look almost easy, but we know it isn't," he said.

Cracking a wide smile, General Kehler said there was a "good news, bad news" story going around about the 45th Space Wing.

"The good news," he said, "is that the joint warfighters in the field know what you do for them. The bad news is the same thing, and now they all want more of it. Success breeds success, and that's what you bring to the fight here," he said.

Prior to taking questions from the crowd, General Kehler talked about something very near and dear to his heart: the quality of life of his Airmen.

"People sometimes ask me what keep me up at night. Well, it's not an "operational" thing, and that's because of people just like you all through this command," he said. "We are a "retention force," and we keep our Airmen by investing in quality-of-life programs designed to benefit our Airmen and their families.

"That's why we need all of you to let us know," he said. "We need to retain our Air Force families."

Before leaving, General Kehler was asked what impressions he would take from the 45th Space Wing to the next base he visits. He said the number-one impression was the wing's professionalism.

"This wing and its history of successes is providing enormous combat capability to the joint warfighter. This team ought to be very proud of itself and very proud of its contributions to our Air Force mission."