SLD 45 Hosts Civic Leaders

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Samuel Becker

Members of the Air and Space Forces Civic Leader Program visited Patrick Space Force Base, Florida, and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, from July 20-21, 2023, to experience the unique mission set and culture of Space Launch Delta 45.

These Air and Space Force civic leaders are highly influential individuals in their respective communities with expertise in various fields. They are hand selected by the Secretary of the Air Force to advise the Department of the Air Force on issues affecting base communities. In turn, civic leaders help to communicate Department of the Air Force priorities back to their communities to help advance local quality of life initiatives and programs.  

Each year, the program hosts tours at different major commands, allowing the civic leaders a chance to familiarize themselves with other missions, connect tactical and operational objectives to headquarter level issues, and interact with Airmen and Guardians around the United States.

The tour started with a welcome brief from U.S. Space Force Brig. Gen. Kristin Panzenhagen, SLD 45 commander, discussing SLD 45’s role of Assuring Access To Space.

“We were honored to host the civic leaders for a tour of both Patrick Space Force Base and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, allowing them direct access to the mission and an opportunity to engage with our Airmen and Guardians,” said Panzenhagen. “It’s valuable for our civic leaders to see first-hand all of our team’s accomplishments and the magnitude of the space launch mission, enabling assured access to space for the Nation.”

Following the overview, U.S. Air Force Col. Anthony Graham, SLD 45 Vice Commander, Support, delivered a briefing regarding the state of the Delta and current events.

“Civic leaders enable our SLD 45 team to strengthen relationships with the local community,” said Graham. “Allowing them an inside glimpse to the mission and interaction with the Airmen and Guardians furthers the civic leaders’ understanding of the base and enables them to advise, communicate and advocate on our behalf to the community.”

After being briefed by leadership the civic leaders continued their tour onto the Forge, the United States Space Force’s first innovation spark cell.

While touring the Forge, the group was shown multiple facets of the driving force behind groundbreaking advancements and witnessed the pursuit of excellence that defines SLD 45’s innovation landscape.

“Even as a local, it was truly exciting for me to see the Forge for the first time during our recent Air and Space Force civic leaders trip,” said Jennifer Sugarman, SLD 45 Air and Space Force civic leader. “The culmination of STEM, security, advanced technology and attention to quality of life all converge in this very important hub, ultimately leading to a better execution of the mission.”

The remainder of the tour, spread over two days, familiarized the team with the rich history of space launches through the Sands Space History Center and the launch partnerships vital to mission success.

“Getting multiple rockets into space and successfully working with private sector partners is quite a challenge, add in the pace of the launches and the work is incredibly difficult but also very rewarding,” said Kevin Twohig, Fairchild Air Force Base civic leader. “SLD 45 demonstrated a unique skill set and ability to meet the challenges of space and I appreciate the attention to space as a contested domain and believe SLD 45 is our best opportunity to meet the challenge.”