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Training necessary, crucial to success and safety

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Before I got the opportunity to command here, one of the things I already knew was how well our people respond in the face of adversity.

Well, after seeing how well all units, agencies and offices responded to the well-designed, weeklong Anti-Terrorism exercise, it's easy to see why real-world events are handled so professionally both here at Patrick and at the Cape.

Not only that, but this exercise proved once again to me how well we partner, train and effectively communicate with outside agencies here on the Space Coast, in Brevard County and within the State of Florida.

You can't imagine the level of comfort these vital connections give me. It's comforting to know someone has your back whether you're crouched in a foxhole or sitting at a launch console.

Or joining forces with the outside community and fending off and defending ourselves against any kind of outside threats, as we have been doing all week. And will continue to do in the future.

Continual training - and trust me, this won't be the last exercise we'll be conducting around here - is crucial to our success and safety. Should a worldwide crisis occur, we will all fall back on our training because there is no time to "think" what you need to be doing to act quickly, save lives and continue the mission. You just have to do it.

I have also heard the usual moans and groans that exercises like this can cause the people who live and work on the base. To that I have but one thing to say: a little inconvenience is a small - very small - price to pay when it comes to the safety of our people, easily our most valuable resource.

Exercises like the one we are doing right now are designed to test every facet of our capabilities. I expect when the "findings" come in that we will discover we did some things really well, and that we need some more work in others.

And that's OK. That's the whole point. I will never accept a "check-the-block" mentality when it comes to realistic, tough training. We'll do it right. It's the only way we can get a true reflection of where we are, and the only way we can learn.

And we are learning every single day. I am proud to be your commander. Go Sharks!