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'Being a Shark' a privilege not all get to do

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Well folks... it's been two years now and it's reluctantly time to say good-bye.

I say reluctantly, because I know, like many of you PCSing this summer, being a part of the Cape Canaveral legacy and home of the "The Sharks" is a privilege few of us in the Air Force actually get a chance to do.

Looking back, I'm filled with pride of the many accomplishments that we have made together. Launching the first two Delta IV rockets, conducting a major astronaut recovery exercise, leading the command in wireless communication and footprint reductions, conducting multiple shuttle/Delta II/Atlas V launches, leading the first ferry flight operation in a couple of years, implementing the range vision of the future, and finally convincing our most senior DoD leaders of the fragility and value of the Eastern Range.

More importantly, although, it's been the honor of serving you as the Ops Group commander.

To participate in multiple promotions, awards banquets, ceremonies and speaking engagements like AFA, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation, AFCEA and the National Prayer Luncheon has been nothing short of awesome. What makes this job so fun? Let me sum it up with three simple thoughts: involvement, relationships and initiative.

First, get involved. You'll never know what rewards you'll reap until you immerse yourself in what you are doing. Is it frustrating at times, absolutely, but the rewards are so much greater than having never tried at all.

Second, think about the history you get to be part of and that history is built on relationships with each other. Every one of us, and I mean everyone from our mission partners, our retirees and our incredible contractor workforce, can be involved in launch and base activities - every launch is unique, every launch is historical, and it happens here.

Third, take initiative. Don't be afraid to try something new, but when you set out, set out to finish the job and finish it right.

There is little more rewarding than reaping the fruits of one's labor. Our family has had the chance to get involved, build lasting relationships/friendships, and take those initiatives - and what a wonderful ride it has been!

But most of all, let me say thank you for allowing us to be part of the marvelous Space Coast team, God Speed to all of you!

(Editor's Note: This commentary was written prior to Colonel Gruber's change of command May 21)