A Farewell Message from the Vice

  • Published
  • By Col Rory Welch
  • Vice Commander, 45th Space Wing
It's hard to believe a year has come and gone since I joined TeamPatrick last summer. But, what a year it has been!

We helped to close out the 30-year history of the Space Shuttle program with the final mission for Shuttle Atlantis, and to usher in a new era for NASA with the first-ever all commercial rendezvous with the International Space Station for SpaceX and its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule. We also successfully launched a new GPS spacecraft, three advanced military communications satellites, five Navy Trident missiles, and space probes to the Moon, Jupiter, and Mars.

We deployed dozens of combatready Airmen to Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere around the world. We fully implemented the Food Transformation Initiative across all of our dining establishments, and finished complete interior makeovers of the Riverside Dining Facility and our award-winning Medical Clinic. We also hosted many distinguished visitors who
witnessed first-hand the pride and professionalism of the Sharks.

And once again, Team Patrick led the way as we tackled the firstever Consolidated Unit Inspection in Air Force Space Command. Hard months of preparation paid off when the wing met the mark in 29 inspected areas. Many individuals and several units performed exceptionally well.

Sharks, you should be justifiably proud of those accomplishments. It will be a bittersweet farewell as I leave the Space Coast. As I often tell people, you have to work hard not to enjoy living on the beach and launching rockets for a living. And the people of Team Patrick and our local community have been more welcoming and supportive than any I've experienced in my 22 years of service. I will miss the many friends I made here. At the same time, I'm looking forward to rejoining my family in Virginia and to taking on new challenges at the NRO.

As I exit stage right, please welcome my relief, Col. Robert Pavelko, his wife Carol, and daughter, Hana, to Team Patrick. Bob has tremendous experience in the space business. He and his family are looking forward to joining the Sharks.

To the tremendous professionals of the 45th Space Wing, as well as our many mission and community partners, I say, "Farewell and thank you for making this a terrific tour. I hope to see you again soon."

Keep pushing, Sharks!