1/22/2009 – PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — Well, one launch down – and if the current range launch schedule is correct – we have a lot more to go.

By now, I’m sure you know we successfully launched a Delta 4 rocket from launch pad 37B last Saturday night at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

If you didn’t get a chance to see it, you missed quite a show as the rocket, towering 23 stories high, climbed into the sky and put a National Reconnaissance Office payload into orbit for the nation Saturday night. Once again, the 45th Space Wing played another instrumental part in protecting the national security of the United States.

Like I said last week (and trust me, you’ll hear me whistle this tune over and over during my time here) commitment and flexibility define who we are as a Wing, as Airmen, and who we are in our jobs.

Wow, did you prove me right on that one.

As we watched the launch date move to the right, I continued to watch your determination to “get things right” grow exponentially.

What an exciting way to begin my “launch career” as commander of the 45th Space Wing!

Of course, we could never do what we do without the cooperation of many of our partners, to include NASA, United Launch Alliance, Space Florida and SpaceX, among others. What a “team environment” you have developed here! One of my most important goals is to ensure these ties only grow stronger, especially as we confront an economic environment that will force us to be more efficient and do more with less. With the number of projected launches the Eastern Range has on its schedule this year, we all need to find ways to be both prudent with our resources, and dead-on-the-mark with our practices and procedures. I am confident you will continue to find ways to do both. You always do.

And I know as you do what you do, you will always keep safety at the forefront.

Next up is a Shuttle launch. While some of you have probably done a Shuttle launch or two, or a hundred, I am looking forward to my first Shuttle launch in February. So too, I am sure, is our nation’s latest President. It will be President Obama’s first launch too as Commander in Chief. No pressure, though!

Thanks again Sharks for all you do!