460th SW commander shares vision for Team Buckley
By Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 05, 2014
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Who is your commander, and what makes him tick?
For some, joining the military can be a challenging transition. But from an early age, Col. John Wagner, 460th Space Wing Commander, had his head in the game.
The son of two Air Force service members, Wagner always knew what he wanted to be when he grew up.
"When I was about eight years old, we went on a family trip to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and I saw the transition from the Apollo program to the Space Shuttle. The, 'We just went to the moon' energy was still very high. It was then I knew I had to be a part of our space program," Wagner recalled. "The United States Air Force Academy offered a start to what has been a really great journey."
From a young age, Wagner aspired to become a pilot and astronaut, but learned quickly that it was out of the question because of less than perfect eyesight. Still, Wagner pushed forward.
"The Air Force offers an incredible path to contribute to our national space program and national security," Wagner said. "I've been very fortunate to serve in some very challenging jobs, but I'm really excited to be here with this incredible team maximizing missile warning to our nation and allies."
A huge fan and supporter of sports and team-building activities, he uses a coaching leadership style, assessing performance and offering motivation where needed.
"We must give our mission and people all we have each and every day -- our nation expects nothing less," Wagner said. "It's going to be demanding. It's going to be exhausting. But we need to give our people and mission our very best effort every day -- and we will be there when our nation needs us most."
Sports and physical fitness go hand in hand, and Wagner continuously stresses the importance of staying in shape.
"We all need to be truly fit to fight," he said. "We are still a nation at war, and it is our duty to be ready when our leaders tap us on the shoulder and say, 'Hey, it's time to go.'"
As for the future of Buckley, the colonel has nothing but high expectations.
"My vision for Buckley is that this six-square-mile base becomes widely known as the best place to live and work in the United States Air Force," Wagner said. "I want every single one of our Airmen to look back fondly on their assignment here.
"I'm excited to continue to serve. I sleep very well at night knowing that we have a professional and proficient workforce that is on point and in the fight 24/7/365. I have full faith and confidence in every single one of our Airmen executing our missions and am thankful that we have an outstanding group of supervisors and commanders taking care of them," he said. "The sun never sets on the 460th Space Wing."