21st Space Wing makes trip to Capitol Hill

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- On April 1, your command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Tim Omdal and I participated in the annual Commander's Capitol Hill Visit Program in Washington, D.C. It was a great visit and one which we had been looking forward to for quite some time. 

The primary goal of this program is to improve and build upon the relationships we've already established with Congressional delegations. In addition, the trip was a great opportunity to inform members of Congress about Air Force-wide issues and to talk to them about issues facing 21st Space Wing units located in the states they represent. Of course, our discussions also provided members of Congress and their staffs with a forum to engage us on any concerns they had. Again, it was an outstanding visit and the Chief and I truly appreciate everyone taking time out of their busy schedules to meet with us. 

The day started out with a very informative briefing by the Secretary of the Air Force's Legislative Liaison office and served as a great overview of what to expect throughout the entire day. I'd like to thank our primary point of contact from Legislative Liaison, Capt. Rosalie Duarte, for doing such a great job arranging our itinerary and making our visit as efficient as possible. It was truly a pleasure working with her. Equally as important in paving the way for our visit was Staff Sgt. Shannon Brady. As our trip planner in the front office, she always does an incredible job ensuring every angle is covered so we get the most from each temporary duty assignment ... and the Capitol Hill visit was no exception. 

Another person that was instrumental in making our trip a success was Mr. Steve Tindell from the Air Force Space Command, Commander's Action Group. The summaries and testimonies he provided from previous congressional visits as well as a variety of other products served us very well by providing a solid foundation for our discussions with the Congressional delegations. Mr. Tindell has shown himself time and again to be an invaluable resource. 

As far as the actual visits with Members of Congress, Chief Omdal and I were able to meet with Congressmen Wally Herger (R-Calif.), Don Young (R-Alaska), Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) and Senator Wayne Allard (R-Colo.). In addition, we met with staff members of Congressmen Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), William Delahunt (D-Mass.) and Senator Ken Salazar (D-Colo.). 

Each discussion focused on how the 21st SW is working to carry out our Air Force priorities -- Winning Today's Fight, Taking Care of Our People and Preparing for Tomorrow's Challenges. To this end, there were some excellent exchanges on the importance of missile warning, space situational awareness and space control. In addition, we talked about the critical deployment role Peterson plays in support of the Global War on Terror, the many installation improvements that have been made at Peterson over the past year and the importance of our space modernization programs such as the Upgraded Early Warning Radar and what many units are doing to maximize the utility of our existing weapon systems. 

Again, all of the Congressional members and staffers we met were highly supportive of the Air Force and the contributions the 21st SW is making in the Global War on Terror. At each meeting, they wanted to pass on their sincere thanks for the work and sacrifices made by members of the Team Peterson community; they truly appreciate the important role each of you has in the defense of our nation. 

On my second day in the Washington, D.C. area, I accepted an invitation to attend a Pentagon orientation with members of the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. It just so happened that the timing of their visit fit in perfectly with our itinerary and allowed me to take in a number of briefings on important issues affecting the Air Force and the Pikes Peak region. Thanks again to the Chamber of Commerce for their invitation and allowing me to participate in the events of that day. 

This week, we look forward to continuing to host the members of the Gen.Curtis E. LeMay Services Award inspection team. As the AFSPC nominee for this Air Force-level award, I am excited to have them see our world class services facilities. I'm confident they will leave on April 11, knowing that we are worthy recipients of this award for services excellence. 

Olé LeMay!