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Give yourselves a pat on the back

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Well, you did it again. 

Monday morning you helped light up the Florida coast with yet another picture-perfect launch of the Delta II rocket hauling a Navstar Global Positioning System spacecraft into orbit. 

And while the launch was perfect from a technical standpoint, it was a sad day for some because this was the final satellite of its kind to fly, the final time the Air Force would use this rocket and the retirement of a launch pad (17 A) that has served the 45th Space Wing, the United States Air Force and the entire nation for more than half a century. 

And not only that, the squadron that actively launched those missions - the 1st Space Launch Squadron - cased their colors in an inactivation ceremony about 24 hours later after nearly 19 years of success. 

Their success streak has now reached 56 consecutive Delta II launches and over the past 19 years they have a 97.87% Delta success rate. Just an amazing achievement.
Give yourselves a pat on the back. Just don't spend your time looking back. 

Because we all know that even as time marches on we have to continue to stay in step to keep abreast of all that we have on our plate. 

We are still on target to have the busiest launch year in a very long time, including the 45th Space Wing's support of a shuttle launch next week. 

With all the real-world missions going on around us, we still find ourselves in the midst of the Operational Readiness Inspection that will continue for the next month or so. 

To that I have but one word: good. 

It's good that others get to see the way you handle yourselves when the pressure is on, when the manning is not all there, and when it gets to crunch time.
 
It's good that other get to see the real meaning of the word team when they see the way we pull together and "make it happen." 

Because one Airman practicing team work is far better than a hundred teaching it.
And you're all Airmen to me.