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Everyone in AFSPC a space warrior

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Every member of Team Buckley plays a role in the space mission, from dining facility workers who cook for and feed base personnel to space operators who watch the skies and track missiles.

The fact that everyone on Buckley AFB is a part of the team was reiterated Sept. 8 when the wing held a pep-rally style commander's call for Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, commander, Air Force Space Command.

The 460th Space Wing welcomed General Chilton with cheers of, "Ole! Ole, ole, ole! We are the champions! We are the champions!" referring to the 460th Space Communications Squadron's win at the space and missile competition, Guardian Challenge, in August.

Buckley showcased its base facilities including the chapel, housing, Panther Hall, the health and wellness center, High Frontier Dining Facility, and 2nd Space Warning Squadron. Along with the tours, representatives from units around the base presented their unit missions to the AFSPC commander.

"Getting a chance to meet folks in the mission areas was super," the commander said. "You can tell just how proud they are, both the Guard troops who came down from Greeley, (Colo.,) as well as the 2nd SWS folks.

"The spirit of the place just showed through," he said. "I thought Guardian Challenge was over, but the spirit is alive and well in this wing. I was very impressed."

When all the units on the base come together they shape Team Buckley, the "total force" that ensures Buckley accomplishes the mission. The team consists of 37 tenant units with all branches of the military represented including the Guard, Reserves and foreign countries.

"Everything we do in space is for the joint fight -- 100 percent," General Chilton said.

"Everybody uses our GPS signal. Everybody benefits from our missile warning bulletins. Everybody benefits from the weather satellites we fly. We don't do a single thing in space just for the United States Air Force," he said.

Not everybody on Buckley is a space operator, but everyone is just as important to the mission. General Chilton commended the 460th for their deployed members and augmentees supporting command post and base security operations.

"I have said from day one, I do not care what is over your left pocket," he said. "What I care about is on your right pocket. If you're in AFSPC you are critical to the fight." Air Force personnel wear their specialty badges on the left and the command's patch on the right.

We can't do any of our missions if we don't have the whole team pulling together," he stressed. "Everyone in Air Force Space Command is a space warrior. I don't differentiate space operators from civil engineers, communications experts, intelligence experts, or space experts. We need everyone, or else we don't get it done. No one (job specialty) is more important than the other -- we're all on the same team."

The general then discussed Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. T. Michael Moseley's second directive, recapitalize and modernize the force.

"A lot of folks forget about space and the investments the Air Force is making in space," he said. "The Air Force takes its missions in space very seriously. You can tell because we are recapitalizing every satellite constellation.

The Air Force has the same concern with its aircraft, said General Chilton.

"We have to get our air breathing assets recapitalized, at least as quickly as we are recapitalizing our space assets.

"We are still flying helicopters in our special operations community that fought in the Vietnam War era. One tail number in our inventory flew in the 1975 Mayaguez incident and was shot full of holes. It's patched up, and we are still flying that bird today."

Although Buckley operates some of the oldest equipment in the Air Force, it still must provide real-time information to the warfighter downrange whether it is for the Global War on Terrorism or any other spot on the globe.

"What we've seen over the years with this operation is smart people taking the systems at hand, and finding new and different ways to use them." Or use them longer than originally intended.

Many satellites in Air Force constellations have far outlived their originally projected operational lives because of engineers' innovation and operators' resourcefulness.

"Our capabilities are important -- period," he said. "Not just in the war on terrorism. (They are) important for keeping America safe, important for anytime we're in active combat operations. It's been that way ever since we stood up this capability."

General Chilton also discussed topics common to the space community as well as the Air Force during his commander's call.

"General Chilton put everything into perspective today," said Senior Airman Tim, 460th Space Communications Squadron. "It's on (the) first- and second-line supervisors to make sure their Airmen know they are essential to the mission. He just put the nail in the board and hammered the nail further in."

At day's end, the general was complimentary of Team Buckley.

"It was a great visit; I met a lot of great people," the general said. "I am pumped up about Buckley, about the wing and about the mission that's being done up here. (There is a) very bright future for this base and for this community. As new housing is built and people start moving on base and we start seeing that Air Force family grow, it's going to change the whole feel of the place and make a great community even better."
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