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21st SW annual awards week

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- As part of the 21st Space Wing's annual awards week, all of our local and geographically-separated unit nominees gathered together for the beginning of a week-long series of events Jan. 28 aimed at rewarding their exceptional performance in 2007. 

Scheduled activities included tours of Colorado Springs, Colo., Peterson, the Air Force Academy and the Garden of the Gods. The week's itinerary was a great opportunity for members to enjoy the surrounding community, share their individual stories and learn more about the unique contributions others have made in carrying out the wing mission. 

Organized by the 21st SW Annual Awards Committee, these events are our way of saying thank you for the tremendous support our nominees have provided to the wing over the past year. The annual awards banquet Feb. 6 will cap off the week as the winners from each category are formally announced. 

Every single nominee should be extremely proud because they truly represent the best the wing has to offer. It's no secret the quality of Airmen and competition within each category has never been better; that being said, being nominated for an annual award speaks volumes regarding their hard work, dedication and unwavering commitment. Thanks to their individual contributions and the combined effort of the entire 21st SW, 2007 was an extremely successful year. Allow me to highlight a few of those successes in each of our mission areas. 

Flawless Missile Warning and Space Control Operations - Chinese ASAT Event: Working closely with the Joint Space Operations Center, the wing successfully captured the effects of China's anti-satellite test in which it destroyed one of its own weather satellites. Operators from the 21st SW developed plans to track the test, expanded use of the space surveillance network and produced 96 percent of the element sets used to protect manned spaceflight and remote sensing satellites as a result of the 2,000 additional pieces of space debris. 

Unsurpassed Installation Support and Protection - Housing Privatization: This past September, the Air Force entered into a 50-year partnership with Actus Lend Lease to manage and develop base housing on Peterson. In the process, we developed a very close partnership with Tierra Vista Communities, the company responsible for handling on-base construction and property management. Beginning spring 2008, a six-year development effort will begin with the construction of 597 new homes along with the renovation of 55 existing homes. 

Developing and Deploying Warrior Airmen: The wing deployed 673 Airmen last year, delivering space superiority effects and expeditionary combat support to locations around the globe. Our Airmen earned three Bronze Stars, one Purple Heart, two Air Force Combat Action Medals and dozens of other decorations during their deployment. These accomplishments are a testament to the contributions of our annual award nominees and to the contributions of all members of the 21st SW. 

The detailed planning that went into organizing the annual awards week was a complete team effort. My thanks again to each member of the awards committee who worked so diligently to ensure everything went so smoothly. Assisting the awards committee were Chief Master Sgt. Bryan Rainey and Staff Sgt. Shannon Brady. They worked in a number of areas to keep the events on track with their expertise and follow-through. In addition, the contributions from all the sponsors, particularly with the annual awards banquet, were very important. Without their kindness and generosity, these types of events simply would not take place -- we are truly grateful for their continuing support. 

Finally, Senior Master Sgt. Gary Hadden deserves a world of credit for the work he did as chairman of the 2007 annual award ceremony. As the primary action officer, he was the point man for all issues related to annual awards week and did a tremendous job putting all the pieces together. 

I also want to thank every commander, chief, first sergeant and, most importantly, every supervisor who took the time to submit award nomination packages. Without the efforts of these individuals, our top performers would not be getting the recognition they deserve. Additionally, we cannot forget the contributions of the unsung heroes -- the family members -- for the love and support they provide. It goes without saying that they play a critical role in our ability to carry out the mission. 

As we recognize our nominees the night of Feb. 6 at the 21st SW Annual Award Ceremony, we honor not only our award winners, but also the entire 21st SW team. I look forward to seeing you at the ceremony; it promises to be a gala event.