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Out with the old; in with a (busier) New Year

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Well, let me begin by wishing all of you a very Happy New Year. I hope you were able to take a little time off, get some much needed rest, spend time with family and friends and re-charge your inner batteries from what was a very busy 2008.

And, thanks to all of you, a very successful 2008.

Every chance I get, and everywhere I travel, I continue to make the point that without the work all of you do, it would be impossible to have the kind of record, reputation and resolve you have established within Air Force Space Command, the Air Force, and the Department of Defense.

That being said, I want you to know we won't have time to rest on our laurels. Hardly. 2009 looks even busier than last year.

To date, the Eastern Range manifest is already loaded with 27 missions, a complex mix of military, NASA, scientific and commercial launches. United Launch Alliance, which plans to launch a total of 19 satellite-delivery missions this year, will launch nine Delta and five Atlas rockets right here from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. In addition, both NASA and SpaceX each have five proposed rocket launches here.

As we launch rockets, remember that war fighters around the world - regardless of the uniform they are wearing - know the information and intelligence they are getting is spot-on accurate thanks to your work in getting satellites into orbit. We have been - and are now more than ever - essentially vital in the Global War on Terror.

Never forget that.

And never forget the nearly 100 Sharks currently deployed in harm's way. They are serving to keep us free. We will never forget their sacrifices and we will continue to do what we can to help keep the home fires burning back here for their left-behind family members.

One Air Force leader recently made it clear no Airmen will be forgotten, whether they are serving here at bases here in the States or in a remote, forward deployed area.

"They're working hard, they have a mission and they have a sense of purpose," said Gen. Norton Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff. "And so it's our job, as senior leaders, to make sure the mission and their sense of purpose is properly directed and that we take care of and cultivate their spirit. We intend to do that," he said.

And I intend to do that as well.

Take care of one another. Go Sharks!