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Seeing happiness in the windshield

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- In this first article since taking command of the 45th Operations Group, I need to say how happy my wife Antoinette and I are to rejoin the Shark family. We want to thank everyone at Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for the very warm welcome back home. As I said at the change of command: happiness is the Pentagon in your rear view mirror, but true happiness is the Florida Space Coast in your windshield!

Leadership for me is really about service. It requires the leader to put other things and people before him/herself. Leadership is about service to the mission. It is also about service to higher authorities. And it is certainly about service to the people being led. For me, a good leader is humble, honest, and cares more about the mission and his/her people than his or her reputation. We are fortunate to have outstanding leaders in the 45th Space Wing, from our wing leadership, to the group and squadron leadership, right down to the workcenter supervisors. While everyone has their own way to approach leadership, I encourage you to include service in your leadership style.

Our mission at the 45th Space Wing is envied by most in Air Force Space Command, the Air Force writ large, and the Joint community. Launching military payloads that provide space capabilities to our forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places around the globe is a dream job. The fact that we also have the honor to support NASA's manned spaceflight mission and our commercial launch partners makes being here even more special. I encourage everyone to think every day about how privileged we are to be a part of the technical magic of space lift. What was considered science fiction in the early 20th century we make a reality now.

As we come back from Memorial Day weekend honoring those who gave their lives for our freedom, we need to keep in mind why we chose to serve in the military or government. Everyone has their own reasons. Some joined to travel. Some joined for a hope at financial security. Some joined to serve their country. My hope is that no matter what your reasons for joining the team were, you keep in mind that your actions, no matter how far removed from the fighting they may be, affect our brothers and sisters in arms around the world. Take pride in what you do and remember Service before Self!