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General James visits, quarterly awards announced

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Once again, outstanding job Knights of the 21st Space Wing! You truly outdid yourselves as we hosted our new 14th Air Force commander, Lt. Gen. Larry James and his wife, Susan this past Tuesday - both were very impressed with our Airmen and how we conduct our mission. Although it was only a one-day visit with the 21 SW, we were able to show them why we are "America's Space Superiority Wing."

The visit started off with breakfast with 27 Airmen from the wing representing all of our groups at Peterson and Cheyenne Mountain. Their questions and attentiveness set the tone for the rest of the visit, showcasing each aspect of our three-pronged mission.
We also were able to showcase to the General how we conduct flawless missile warning and space control operations. Lt. Col. Keith Balts, 10th Space Warning Squadron commander, presented a briefing on Space Situational Awareness to the General highlighting how positive and accurate SSA provides continuous critical missile warning and space surveillance data to the Joint Space Operations Center, North American Aerospace Defense Command, United States Strategic Command, and regional combatant commanders. General James was also able to visit with the professionals of the 76th Space Control Squadron, who demonstrated our capability to rapidly achieve flexible and versatile results in support of global and theater campaigns by delivering counterspace effects.

General James saw first-hand how we provide unsurpassed installation support and protection by visiting the outstanding Airmen of the 21st Security Forces Squadron and receiving an update from 1st Lt. Tamara Fischer-Carter on the unit's plan to enhance force protection through the implementation of the Defense Biometric Identification System. Additionally, the Airmen of the 21st Medical Group (MDG) provided a thorough brief and guided tour of the recent changes and future projects that will benefit the 24,000 enrolled patients at the clinic.

The detailed briefs by 1st Lt. Joshua Killian and Harvey Kraft, 21st Logistics Readiness Squadron, gave General James a greater understanding of how we develop and deploy our Warrior Airmen using the Deployment-Ready Expeditionary Skills Training and where our Knights are currently deployed in support of the Global War on Terror. The General also spoke with Capt. Donald Brown, 21st Medical Support Squadron and Senior Airman Kelani Mendiola, 21st Aerospace Medicine Squadron, on their recent deployment experiences in Afghanistan.

General and Mrs. James toured the Airman Family and Readiness Center and received briefings on how the wing takes care of our Airmen and their families through the Deployed Families Dinner, our tutoring program and the new Deployed Connection website.

Master Sgt. Chester Spires, 21st Communications Squadron, provided an outstanding briefing and demonstration on the new deployment site tailored with information specifically for our people. It's important for us to take care of the families who make the sacrifices and provide support for our Warrior Airmen. Deployed Connection, whose slogan is "Get plugged in," will help us bridge the communication gap that a deployment can cause between the unit and a family and help them stay connected. The web page launches Jan. 23 with stories, answers to frequently asked questions, links, upcoming events and articles with a focus on the deployed family. But anyone can find the page to be of great value; it will contain many important service announcements and information Airmen and their families should know. We hope this page will help families feel "plugged in" to Peterson AFB even when their spouse is away.

The General provided an outstanding Commander's Call where he was able to talk directly with members of the 21st SW. He discussed his vision and how we fit into the picture. General James also recognized Staff Sgt. Rory Sturm, Jr., 721st Security Forces Squadron, and presented him with the 2008 14th Air Force Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year Award. This is a huge honor and a testament of Rory's outstanding accomplishments and sacrifices. Throughout the visit, we were able to show the General what I and other leaders of the wing have known all the while - that the Airmen of the 21st Space Wing are the best the Air Force has to offer.

Speaking of the best, please join me in recognizing and congratulating the 21 SW, 4th Quarter Award winners in their respective categories:

Airman: Senior Airman Lisa Mitchell, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron, Peterson AFB
NCO: Technical Sgt. Jason Linta, 21st CES, Peterson AFB
SNCO: Master Sgt. Stacy Grice, 21st Dental Squadron, Peterson AFB
CGO: Capt. Michael Adams, 821st Support Squadron, Thule AB, Greenland
Civilian Cat I: Michael Carmody, 21st Contracting Squadron, Peterson AFB
Civilian Cat II: Brian McQuary, 21st DS, Peterson AFB
Civilian Cat I Supervisory: Donald Jordan, 21st Force Support Squadron, Peterson AFB
Civilian Cat II Supervisory: Ronnie Schilling, 721st Communications Squadron, Cheyenne Mountain AFS

This month the Peterson Bowling Center reopened after major upgrades which helped to improve the quality of life for our Airmen and patrons. The $340,000 renovation included an upgrade to the bowling alley with new pin setters and a completely remodeled Strike Zone Café. This was a collective effort which included funding from Headquarters Air Force Space Command, Headquarters Air Force Services Agency and the wing. I'd like to give special recognition to the 21st Force Support Squadron and particularly the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron for their pivotal roles in completing the project in minimal time and impact to our patrons. Job well done!

The wing also supported the Chief's Recognition Dinner on Jan. 16. It was a first-class affair recognizing an elite group of our senior NCOs. Achieving the rank of chief master sergeant is no small feat...only 1 percent of the total enlisted force ever reaches this career milestone. My thanks to The Peterson Club staff for making this an unforgettable event for our newest Chief-selects, and thanks to their families and friends for supporting and encouraging them.

I am continually honored to serve with the men and women of the 21 SW. I thank you all for your service and hard work. I know you all will keep up this level of performance as we approach our Operational Readiness Inspection. Have a great week.