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From the Top: Warm Welcome for New AFSPC Vice Commander

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Nothing makes a commander more proud than being able to show off their command. We had the opportunity to do just that on Tuesday. Lt. Gen. John E. Hyten, Vice Commander, Air Force Space Command, was able to spend a day with Team Patrick. This was his first Air Force Space Command base visit since becoming the Vice Commander in May 2012.

Following breakfast at our world-class Riverside Dining Facility, he spent several hours touring facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. He was able to view hardware for upcoming missions and commented often on the consistent tempo of operations we see on the eastern range. His visit ranged from an up close and personal look at the Atlas V which will carry the Radiation Belt Science Probe for NASA in August to our latest version of our GPS IIF satellite scheduled for launch in October. General Hyten also had the opportunity to tour SpaceX facilities and see the latest Falcon 9 being processed.

He witnessed your professionalism during the briefings given by our junior officers and NCOs, which were top-notch at every stop along the tour. A standout was 2nd Lt Kelly Patterson from 5SLS. Her enthusiasm, excitement and understanding of the systems she is responsible for was eye watering. Great job Kelly!

Another highlight was when we got the chance to shake hands and congratulate 1st Lt Jason M. Barhorst, who was named the Air Force winner of the Dr. Paul G. Kaminiski Most Promising Systems Engineer of the Year Award. What an outstanding honor for one of our great young Airmen! After spending the day at the Cape, we then had the opportunity to shift gears and spend time at a Military Affairs Council meeting held in Cocoa that evening.

I want to publicly thank the MAC leadership for a great time. General Hyten commented to me that it was extremely evident that there exists a tremendous relationship between our base and the local community. He's absolutely right; thanks for everything you do for our Airmen everyday.

Thank you to everyone who made a very strong impression this week. I know Lt. Gen. Helms will feel just as welcomed to the wing next week when she comes "home" to Shark Country.

I would like to take the opportunity now to pass words of congratulations once again to the wing's newest Base Honor Guard graduates. I had the honor of presenting them with their ceremonial "cookie" badge last week.

Congratulations to all! You provide a dignified service to our service members and their families that should never be taken lightly.

In conclusion, I would also like to mention the passing of one of the Air Force's great leaders, retired Lieutenant General Forrest S. McCartney. This distinguished officer served as the director of range engineering at Patrick Air Force base in 1971 and later went on to become director of NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center. Our thoughts and prayers go out Ms. Ruth and his family.

Keep pushing, Sharks!