Know past to control future

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Susan Helms
  • 45th Space Wing Commander
It has been said that those who know the past control the future. That is why it is vitally important to know our military heritage - especially as we approach our Air Force's 60th anniversary in September. 

The first launch on the Eastern Range occurred 57 years ago this month. Since then we've had nearly 3,400 launches - clearly establishing Cape Canaveral as the world's busiest and best spaceport. Our space program is one of the marvels of the modern world. It is something that not only benefits us militarily, but also on scientific and economic fronts. 

The 45th Space Wing celebrated its 15th anniversary Nov. 12, 2006. Our wing evolved from its predecessor organizations: the Air Force Missile Test Center, Air Force Eastern Test Range and Eastern Space and Missile Center. All in all, these agencies oversaw various space launch and ballistic missile testing programs that kept America first in space and helped us win the Cold War. Today, we continue their legacies by launching spacecraft that provide combat effects for the Global War on Terror, shuttles carrying segments for the International Space Station and supporting Trident II ballistic missile tests that give America a strategic edge. 

What we do here and the Air Force's development and stewardship of America's space and ballistic missile programs are what make this the best assignment in our Air Force. 

I surge with pride every time I drive past the old and new launch pads at the Cape. I get an adrenalin rush whenever I hear and feel the rumble of the shuttle or expendable vehicles blasting off. We're privileged to serve at the Kitty Hawk of America's space program. You make history with every launch and have earned your places on an elite, respected team of high achievers. 

Ensuring that our rich history is preserved and honoring a great leader are the primary reasons we are renaming the Range Operations Control Center to the Morrell Operations Control Center later this year. Maj. Gen. Jimmey R. Morrell was the first 45th SW commander. He is credited with laying the foundation from which our wing has flourished. 

Our history shapes our identity, forges our values and helped mold us into the outstanding unit we are today. Our history also serves as a source of pride for all that has been accomplished here at the World's Premier Gateway to Space. Get to know our history and position yourself to understand the sacred nature of our mission and value to the Nation. Go Sharks!