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USSF Acquisition Leader visit VAFB

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Hanah Abercrombie
  • 30th Space Wing

U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center commander and program executive officer for Space, Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, and SMC command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Lisa Arnold, visited Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. April 9, 2021.

While at Vandenberg AFB, Lt. Gen. Thompson discussed the organizational design of Space Systems Command during a town hall, and met with Airmen and Guardians from various units across the installation, thanking them for their support and hard work toward assured access to space.

“Vandenberg is the only place I know of that launches both intercontinental ballistic missiles and rockets,” said Thompson. “To ensure unity of effort across the Space Launch mission set, the Launch Enterprise, which is responsible for acquiring space launch capabilities, Vandenberg AFB will be transferring to Space Systems Command.” The 30th SW will transition to a Space Launch Delta and later realign under SSC upon its activation in summer 2021.

Lt. Gen. Thompson met various 30th SW units to explore how each contributes to Western Range operations.

“When it comes to securing the Western Range, the only thing that we want to be on fire is the exhaust,” said Lt. Gen. Thompson while meeting with Vandenberg’s fire department, noting how critical the Hotshot mission is to keeping USSF assets safe during summer months when wildland fires are a common occurrence.

During the visit, the 30th Security Forces Squadron defenders explained the process of training and working alongside their K-9 counterparts for effective security of the Western Range.

After interacting with space range safety and security experts, Lt. Gen. Thompson met with the space professionals charged with developing the next generation of Guardians at the 533rd Training Squadron. The 533rd instructors shared the latest projects they have taken on to prepare future space operators. Some of the Guardians mentored at the 533rd Training Squadron will eventually be assigned to support space lift at the Western Range Operations Control Center.

The visit concluded with a tour of Space Launch Complex 6, where the National Reconnaissance Office’s NROL-82 payload is scheduled to launch in just a few weeks.

“Vandenberg represents the past, present, and future of space lift and range capabilities for the nation,” said Thompson. “I am proud of each of you for your role in supporting this mission, and I look forward to watching your mission continue to evolve with the stand up of Space Systems Command. Semper supra!”