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The Schriever Trophy comes back home

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- It was my honor to join the 45th Space Wing Guardian Challenge team in Colorado Springs for the 2008 GC score posting as we came together to celebrate Air Force Space Command's best. For those who have never had the chance to be a part of Guardian Challenge, I recommend you consider it next time as we go for our fourth win in a row. 

The atmosphere on Friday night at the score posting was electrifying, but to me it was the months of preparation that culminated in our big win that was most memorable. I came home from the competition with three major impressions. 

First, there is no wing in Air Force Space Command that matches the enthusiasm and esprit de corps that we and our sister wing, the 341 SW from Malmstrom AFB, Mont., bring to the fight. It was no surprise to anyone in the audience that both wings went "back-to-back" in winning their respective competition. In fact, for the 45 SW sharks, this was a "three-peat." 

My second impression was that we are in extremely good hands as we head into a very dynamic future. Not only did our wing team water my eyes by sweeping the major individual and team awards, but I left feeling very secure in the future of our Air Force after seeing the professionals who are the best-of-the-best in their respective career fields. A shining example was our Security Forces team who, though they scored higher than any team in 14th Air Force, were extremely humble and professional in how they carried themselves the entire week. 

My third impression was that while it takes an immense amount of work to pull off Guardian Challenge, the payoff is worth it. Best of all, we end up with more proficient operators. These winners then go back into their workplaces where they pass on the lessons learned through the training buildup and the competition, giving us an overall better work force - that is what I call good "bang-for-the-buck." 

In addition, our trainers become better as they seek out ways to really stress the competitors to get them ready for the big game. We also have trusted agents who work behind the scenes building mock-ups and evaluation ma-teriel - that too comes right back to the wing in the form of improved proficiency and lessons learned. 

I wish each of you could have been in the hangar at Peterson AFB as they announced over and over "the winner is... the 45th Space Wing!" To me, it validated what we already knew - the 45 SW Sharks are indeed the best in the business-you should be proud of our team and proud of the role you played in getting them ready to dominate. Let's go for four in a row!