Teamwork: Delivering mission success

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. David Leach
  • 5th Space Launch Squadron Commander
"There is no limit to what can be accomplished if it doesn't matter who gets the credit." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Poet

While playing shortstop during my first year of little league baseball, I anticipated the infield fly ball. The batter popped up the ball and I caught it.  It ended the final inning and our team won. 

As I reflect on this, my part in this win was the result of a comprehensive team effort. The enjoyment I experienced playing baseball as a youth happened because of coaches, managers, parents, umpires, groundskeepers, administrators as well as the players and others.   

Fast forward 35 years later. 

While sitting on-console for my first launch as part of the 45th Space Wing Shark Team, I am amazed at the precision in the coordination among the various players who have to come together for this crucial high-risk portion of a space vehicle's life cycle.

With over 14,000 personnel and over 15 million square miles of geography, all of the 45th Space Wing team members play a critical role; some sit on-console, but there are many other unsung heroes behind the scenes.

During five recent launch attempts in the stormy Florida summer evenings, the Launch Weather Officer from our Weather Squadron was feeding timely information regarding cloud and lightning rules so that the "no-go" decision makers were able to manage the launch countdown and ensure the safety of personnel and flight equipment.

The Range Management Squadron ensures that all of the key range instrumentation is capable of supporting launch activities. Many times we only discuss the activities of the Communications Squadron when there is an outage; however, the work they do to keep such a vast network operational is truly heroic.

Security Forces defenders secure our sensitive payloads and access to controlled areas and the Medical Group personnel feverishly work to support the physical and mental well-being of our most critical launch assets. 

Amongst the many other activities of the Range Operations Squadron, they also coordinate and schedule the limited range resources while the launch manifest and number of customers is rapidly increasing. Mission assurance on payload processing and integration is provided by the Launch Support Squadron. This list could easily continue with many more participants.

It is important to recognize the collective efforts of the entire 45th Space Wing team as we work to deliver this vital mission for our national interests.  Go Sharks! 

"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." --Henry Ford