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Champions again – with class!

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASe, Fla. -- Wow! Last week was sure a week to remember. Not only did we garner the Air Force Space Command Installation Excellence Award - the third time we've won at the MAJCOM level - we also blew away the competition at the Guardian Challenge Awards Ceremony at Peterson Air Force Base. 

From the moment we arrived in Colorado, our awesome Guardian Challenge team had the look of champions. You could see it in the way they acted - and interacted - with other competitors, guests and Airmen. You could see it in the way they carried themselves - not with some gloating in-your-face arrogance - but with a well-defined sense of quiet confidence. They showed class! 

As it turns out, there was a pretty good reason they had the look of a champion - they are! They brought back the Schriever Trophy for the third time in a row and they won the major and individual awards. As I stood there and ap-plauded these well-earned awards last Friday evening - over and over again - I couldn't stop myself from also thinking about all the people back here at the 45th Space Wing who played such a big part in this outstanding achievement. 

I thought of all the co-workers - military, civilian and contractors - who pushed, prodded, encouraged and energized our Guardian Challenge team members every step of the way. I thought of all the friends and family members who did the very same thing, even in their "off" time. From conversations I had with the team members, I know for a fact they feel the same way I do. And that, in a word, is "grateful." Never before has the old saying "There is no "I" in T-E-A-M" been more relevant. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it, nothing - absolutely nothing - makes me prouder than to be your commander. 

But even though the awards, trophies and recognition are symbols of excellence, that's all they really are in the bigger picture - symbols. 

Because the true value of this skill-honing competition can be summed up in what General Kehler had to say at the Guardian Challenge opening ceremonies last week. "Out there somewhere is a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine counting on us," he said. "And we will deliver every time they need us."
That we will. Go Sharks!