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Enhancing battlefield control for the nation

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- I write this commentary on the eve of yet another successful launch, this time a Delta IV carrying a GPS satellite. Every time we launch a payload, I see the men and women of the 45th Space Wing demonstrating the utmost professionalism in executing their mission. In fact, we execute it so well, sometimes it almost seems routine. But, it's not, because after all (yes, it's a bit cliché), this is rocket science.

I also know that behind the scenes, there is a grand orchestra that has worked extremely hard to put together this symphony and because of our "Excellence in All We Do" attitude, everything comes together in perfect harmony. But, I sometimes ask myself, "Why do we care and work so hard?"

Well, for me, it's all about saving lives. In the history of warfare, I think no single advancement has given greater advantage over its adversaries than space superiority. If you don't believe me, just do a google search for "US military war casualties."

Prior to this nation's rise as the premier space power, the number of US casualties in major 20th century conflicts (World Wars I/II, Korean War, Vietnam War) is extremely sobering. But, starting with the first Persian Gulf War, when US space superiority really started showing its true value, the difference in casualty numbers is astounding.

I wish we could eliminate all US casualties, so none of our brothers and sisters in arms ever has to come home to tear-stained faces of family and friends with a flag draped over their casket.

Even though space capabilities can't get us all the way to that ideal, I know we make a positive impact.

We should all be proud of the role that we execute as this nation's Premier Gateway to Space, because there is no doubt that Battlefield Control truly does begin here.

With every launch we see rise into the sky, that control is enhanced just a little bit more for all of our brothers and sisters in harm's way, and we help save lives.