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Knockin' the ball out of the park every day (part 3)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- As the Mission Support Group's Detachment 1 commander at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Col. Mark Bontrager asked me to take some time to brag about the huge effort that goes into keeping the Cape running - ensuring our Nation's access to space. Every day, thousands of people ensure that the mission end of the 45th Space Wing continues to deliver world-class service to our Range and launch community.

CCAFS is 16,000 acres with 2,500 acres of improved land to maintain. There are 173 miles of roads and 337 miles of power lines, which is equivalent to a small city with a population ranging from 12,000 to 15,000. There are 1,500 facilities that contain more than 4.6 million square feet of office space. We operate a Regional Waste Water Treatment Plant capable of treating 800,000 gallons per day and maintain our own water distribution system with 180 miles of piping.

We maintain an airfield capable of landing C-5s and the Russian Antonov cargo planes. We have three separate port facilities that service everything from subs to cargo vessels. Last year alone, more than 200 ships were serviced at CCAFS.

In order to protect this national asset, security provides 25 posts 24/7 with an additional 20 to 30 posts during launch activities. We maintain two fire stations capable of responding to a myriad of scenarios ranging from initial medical response to structural fires.

A Military Radar Unit performs operations at either Morrell Operations Center in support of launch operations or at the Shuttle Landing Facility in support of day-to-day operations 24/7.

We accomplish approximately 2,300 operations including 9,800,000 pounds of fuel at Fuel Storage Area No. 1 (most are hazardous), annually.

We maintain a U.S. Air Force registered vehicle fleet of 124 vehicles and manage a General Services Administration fleet of 315 vehicles in support of CCAFS.

Moreover, if that is not enough, we maintain a power plant that provides back up power to critical launch assets. This power plant is also capable of providing power to the Florida Power and Light grid when additional capacity is needed (reducing cost of electricity for the Air Force).

All of these statistics are meaningless unless you understand why they're being accomplished. Every single item listed above supports the vision of the 45th SW to "deliver space effects that protect and defend our nation through Global Vigilance, Reach and Power." Launch operations is our reason for being here in the Sunshine State and it is the great team --men and women, active duty, Guard, and Reserve, civil servants and contractors -- that makes sure the infrastructure is ready to support our Nation's access to space.

It is truly a team effort and I am proud to be a part of such a fine organization!