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What a year it's been for the Sharks

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- This is the 50th and final edition of the Missileer for this year. It's hard to believe we have just about put 2007 behind us. Wrapping up a year puts me in a reflective mood, makes me think of the importance of ensuring the safe return from the holidays of all our Airmen, and also inspires me to cast an eye forward to the New Year.

Sharks, you and our mission partners made an impressive mark in 2007. You provided combat effects to our warfighters by replenishing the vital Global Positioning System constellation and launching the first of a new generation of military communications satellites and the last Defense Support Program early warning satellite - the first operational payload launched into space by our Delta IV Heavy booster. You bolstered our national security by launching two National Reconnaissance Office payloads. You opened the doors of scientific discovery by supporting three NASA missions to build the International Space Station and three Delta II launches that propelled probes to study the universe. In addition, you worked with the Navy on groundbreaking Trident II missile tests that validated a new test missile kit design. Quite the track record! I'm extremely proud of all of you and your tremendous contributions to making us an outstanding space wing.

2008 promises to be another busy and exciting year for the Sharks...

In addition to focusing on the future of our mission, during the holidays we should also continue to make safety a priority at work, at home and on the road. Many make eating and drinking the focus at this time of year, but please keep safety and moderation in the mix. The best gift you can give to your family and friends is a healthy and happy you. And of course, I want to see you all return to work in good shape after the holidays because we have lots to accomplish in 2008.

In closing, almost 90 Sharks and mission partners are deployed all over the world - many in harm's way. When gathering around the table for big meals, opening presents around the tree or making noise to ring in the New Year, please keep them and their families in your thoughts. We are all in this together. Happy holidays and Go Sharks!