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General Kehler returns to 21st SW for official visit

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- With all of the events that took place last week, I'd like to start off by saying "thank you" to every 21st Space Wing Knight in the Team Peterson community for their tremendous support throughout the entire week. Almost every event impacted each member of the wing in some way; whether it was the First Term Airman Center hand-off luncheon, Team Peterson annual awards banquet, Colorado 30-Group tour or General and Mrs. Kehler's visit to the wing, the teamwork exhibited by everyone was outstanding. 

Accompanying General and Mrs. Kehler on their official wing visit was Chief Master Sgt. Todd Small, command chief for Air Force Space Command. We were delighted to welcome not only Chief Small on his first visit to the wing, but also the Kehlers, who came back to the wing after spending almost two years here when General Kehler was the 21st Space Wing commander from August 2000 to May 2002. 

There were so many people from the wing who made the visit such a resounding success; however, there are a few I'd like to highlight as providing above and beyond support. First of all, our director of staff, Al Strait, was the event lead. Thanks to his solid planning, everything came together perfectly. In addition, the behind the scenes efforts of Capt. Dan Voorhies, Capt. Meagan Bender and Master Sgt. Angelique McCullar were invaluable. Of course, there are so many others to thank, but the bottom line is that it was a team effort all the way. 

The entire visit was a great opportunity to showcase the outstanding men and women from the 21st SW and our ability to execute flawlessly the wing's mission. As General Kehler said during the visit, he has a first-hand appreciation for the work you do each and every day and what this wing brings to the fight. In fact, he took the opportunity during his commander's call to recognize some of our outstanding performers. General Kehler presented Tech. Sgt. Greg Niles of the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron with a Bronze Star and Air Force Combat Action Medal, while also presenting AFCAMs to Master Sgt. Scott Burns and Staff Sgt. Brooks Jones. Hearing each citation for their heroic actions while deployed was a humbling experience and I know he was particularly proud to highlight their performance in the presence of their families. 

Another successful event from last week was the visit to the wing by the Colorado 30-Group. This group works closely with area commanders in developing a better understanding between the military and civilian community through periodic meetings. The group consists of a broad representation of Colorado's civilian leadership and plays a significant role in many important issues affecting the state.
 
During their visit, the Colorado 30-Group had an opportunity to meet with many of our best and brightest Airmen while also receiving updates on housing privatization, Peterson's "Blueprint 2050" plan and the proposed Powers and Airport interchange. I'd like to thank Mr. Bill Tutt, co-chairman of the Colorado 30-Group, and the entire organization for taking the time to visit our wing. It was a great visit and one which was mutually beneficial to all of those involved. 

Before closing, I'd like to briefly mention the terrific effort that took place with the Team Peterson annual awards banquet and the FTAC hand-off. First of all, I extend my congratulations to all of the award winners and nominees in each of the nine categories. The competition was, once again, very tough, with a total of 56 individuals vying for an annual award. 

Also, retired Chief Master Sgt. Bob Vasquez delivered an outstanding speech as the guest speaker; we were extremely fortunate to have him attend the banquet. Not to be forgotten was the work done by the annual awards committee, led by Senior Master Sgt. Treassia Hall from U.S. Northern Command and Master Sgt. Tami Toma from the 21st Mission Support Squadron. Without their involvement, the annual awards banquet would never have taken place. 

Concerning the FTAC hand-off luncheon, it was great to welcome 14 new Airmen to the Team Peterson community. Also, one of the graduates was recognized at the luncheon, Airman Keith Gamber of the 21st Security Forces Squadron, as the winner of the "Sharp Troop Award." I know the First Sergeants Council was proud to present this award to you. Congratulations Airman Gamber and the entire FTAC class; we are all proud of you. 

Once again, I want to personally thank everyone for their hard work that went into the planning and execution of each event from last week. I know everyone in the Team Peterson community appreciates all you do in service to the Air Force and our country.