From the Top: One Year of Excellence Thanks to You! Published Sept. 7, 2012 By Brig. Gen. Anthony J. Cotton Commander, 45th Space Wing PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- It's hard to believe that one year ago, I took command of the 45th Space Wing. Time sure flies by when you're having fun! I was proud last year to have Lt. Gen. (Ret) Robert Hinson promote me to the rank of Brigadier General, and Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, Commander, 14th Air Force, preside over the change of command ceremony. What made this ceremony even more unique was the fact that both of these individuals were previous 45th Space Wing commanders. Over the last year, we have had changes of command for two of our four groups and numerous changes of command at the squadron level. In addition, we have also witnessed leadership changes at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, Air Force Technical Applications Center and Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral. Regardless of the missions of all these varied units, one thing stays the same: Excellence is all around us! Commanding any unit is a temporary job, and the first thing commanders learn is that none of us can do it alone. That's the way it is in our Air Force and throughout all branches of the Armed Forces. That's why it's so important - so vital, really - for all leaders at all levels do all they can to prepare the leaders of tomorrow. Whether it's preparing for rocket launches, prepping for a major inspection, or remaining steadfast as we continue to support our nation during deployments, I have witnessed excellence and pride around this wing. And it's all because of you. Switching gears, let me say how proud I was of our joint team to once again provide flawless launch support for NASA's Radiation Belt Storm Probes on an Atlas V rocket last week from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Special congratulations to two members of the team who experienced their FIRST launch "in the seat." Colonel Bob Pavelko, the 45th Space Wing Vice Commander, served as Launch Decision Authority and Colonel Doug Schiess, the 45th Operations Group Commander led the range as Operations Director. Outstanding! In closing, let me say thanks again for being safe all summer and especially over last weekend. Here at the wing, we made it through the Critical Days of Summer without a fatality and lowered the total number of injuries with lost workdays. However, as I said in an earlier message to the wing, motorcycle safety continues to be a serious issue. Air Force wide, 14 motorcyclists were killed while riding their motorcycles this year. Sport bikes are the primary type of motorcycle involved in these fatal mishaps, and enlisted members account for 100% of the fatalities with an average age of 25. The difference between a mishap and a fatality is a matter of inches or timing. The majority of these mishaps involved a single vehicle mishap where the rider lost control either due to inattention, speed or misjudging a corner. Whatever the reason, human error or behavior is the leading cause of these senseless deaths. Our Wing Safety Office stands ready and willing to help you. Please ensure all of your Airmen, civilian and contractor team members take advantage of their expertise. I'd also like to remind you that here along the Space Coast, due to our year round warm weather, the Critical Days of Summer never really end. Keep your awareness up; we need to keep each and every one of you around. Keep pushing, Sharks!