Well now, that was a “day” we’ll remember

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Ed Wilson
  • Commander, 45th Space Wing
In a little over 24 hours last week, we used a shovel, opened new doors, walked on new ground, and (finally) launched a rocket that will deliver new satellite capabilities to our warfighter's for years to come. Not a bad day's work if you ask me.

Let me explain.

At 8 a.m. last Friday, August 13th, we broke ground on a long-awaited building renovation project that will transform the entire 45th Medical Group clinic. Today, our outstanding medical team serves well over 60,000 patients each year.

When this "phased" restoration plan is completed in 15 months, the $18 million renovation will match that superb medical service with well-deserved start-of-the-art facilities. The care provided will touch those who served in our armed forces yesterday, today and tomorrow - literally generations of servicemen and servicewomen.

On Friday afternoon, we celebrated the grand opening of the Air Force Space & Missile Foundation's "History Center" just outside the South Gate of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. For decades, our wing leadership has dreamed of having a facility outside the South Gate to provide better access to the rich history of our nation's space programs at the Cape. Finally, that dream has come true.

Now, young and old alike can get a glimpse of Cape Canaveral's history - I'd encourage each of you to stop by for a visit. (Please see page 3 for hours).

And that history continued Saturday morning with the successful launch of the first-ever Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite, which rose to orbit atop an Atlas V rocket from Launch Complex 41. Hats off to the men and women at the Space and Missile Systems Center for the great teamwork on this tremendously successful mission!

We were also equally as proud to show off our team and their capabilities to a host of distinguished visitors. General Kehler, Commander, Air Force Space Command, made it very clear he was thoroughly impressed (again) with the entire launch and range operations team. He's seen us in action before, so knew what to expect!

Also in attendance was Ms. Erin C. Conaton, the Undersecretary of the Air Force, who was making her first-ever visit to the wing since being sworn in about five months ago. Fortunately, this wasn't her first encounter with the 45 Space Wing - she attended the Guardian Challenge Score Posting back in May. So, Ms. Conaton was already aware of the Shark's reputation. She commented (with a big smile), that "it was good seeing the Sharks do what they do best!"

And rounding it out were several senior officials from the University of Central Florida, who took the time to experience their first launch "up close and personal." They were impressed, to say the least.

Capping the "day to remember," was the annual Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation's annual meeting. The gathering was a big milestone because we used it to celebrate the "re-opening" of the lighthouse after completion of a several months long soil remediation project. After decades of painting and repainting (with lead-based paint, which was the norm back then), we were able to clean up the site to meet environmental standards and set the stage for more open access to the lighthouse for visitors of all ages.

Kudos to the entire team for a full "day's" work - shovels, doors, dirt and a launch!

Thanks for all you do.