Comments on ‘AFSPC Year of Leadership’

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Precision, reliability, high standards and accountability are all familiar terms heard more now than ever before. Re-embracing these ideals is the methodical approach we must take in order to reinvigorate our commitment to flawless mission accomplishment.

Towards this end, Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander of Air Force Space Command just announced the 'AFSPC Year of Leadership,' with the goal of advancing the development of both present and future leaders at all levels of the command. The Year of Leadership is intended to designate essential areas of concentration to guide this effort.

Beginning September 2008, we will take time to focus on the heritage from which we derive our core values and operate to meet tomorrow's challenges. The importance of our 21st Space Wing mission - "conduct flawless missile warning and space control operations, provide unsurpassed installation support and protection, while developing and deploying Warrior Airmen..." - demands a relentless pursuit of excellence. I expect every member of the wing to take ownership of our mission and constantly strive to do their part flawlessly.

From Aug. 18-22, we conducted a rigorous Condor Crest exercise to stress the wing in all aspects of our mission. Thanks to each of you for the maximum effort you gave in exercising our wartime and contingency capabilities. Prior to the exercise, we spent two months polishing our "Commander's Senior Staff and Emergency Operations Center operations," and, although we will continue to refine our processes, our command and control operations proved vital in the success of this exercise.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the support we received from our local emergency responders. I was truly impressed with the joint participation we had among El Paso County Hazmat, Colorado Spring Fire Department and the Colorado Springs Airport Authority.

This exercise was hands down the largest exercise the 21st Space Wing has delivered in more than two years. Although the final report is not complete at this time, I'd like to recognize some of our outstanding Airmen that made this exercise a success.

Assistant Fire Chief Dave Reynolds coordinated the scene, setting up two major accidents and 55 role players. Mr. Reynolds worked with the Colorado Springs Airport and the city fire department to put on an airplane crash involving both a commercial and military aircraft. The following day, he staged a tornado disaster scene that encompassed five vehicles and 21 role players. These realistic exercise measures truly tested our first responders and command and control functions.

Tech. Sgt. Christopher Wollenzin, Staff Sgt. Candice Harden and Airman 1st Class Tess Foster did an outstanding job as role players during both the airplane crash and tornado exercise events. Their participation perpetuated the sense of realism required to simulate mass casualty events.

Finally, I'd like to thank Senior Master Sgt. Richard Bruno of the 21st Security Forces Squadron for his stellar leadership as a member of our "Commander's Senior Staff." I had the privilege of working closely with Sergeant Bruno throughout the exercise, and I observed first-hand his tremendous leadership. Finally, thanks to the multitude of players who made this a worthwhile experience and to our tenants, who bore with us as we took a critical look at our capabilities.