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Fitness center to receive new name honoring fallen comrade

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Vandenberg Fitness and Sports Center will receive a new name during a dedication ceremony scheduled for 10:30 a.m. May 25.

The dedication will honor fallen Navy Cmdr. Duane G. Wolfe, who lost his life during an improvised explosive device attack May 25, 2009.

"Mr. Wolfe understood the importance of fitness and recognized the need for an improved fitness facility," said 1st Lt. Katie Paton, the coordinator for the dedication ceremony. "He played a large role in the planning stages of the new fitness center. Dedicating it to him is the perfect tribute."

Commander Wolfe served as a civilian at Vandenberg for 24 years, most recently as the 30th Mission Support Group deputy commander. During his time here, he worked with the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron to design the new fitness center. While serving as the deputy, the Vandenberg Fitness and Sports Center was built.

When an opportunity to deploy became available, Commander Wolfe felt it was his duty to volunteer. He was due for retirement, but instead took the opportunity to deploy. That's just the kind of person he was; he was selfless, said Lieutenant Paton.

During the ceremony, a plaque memorializing the life of Commander Wolfe will be unveiled. The plaque including Commander Wolfe's biography and photo and will become a permanent fixture outside of the fitness center.

"It is a fitting tribute to name the fitness center after someone who spent so much time participating in athletics, and more importantly, being actively involved in the process to construct a state of the art fitness facility for the Vandenberg community," said Col. Richard Wright, the 30th Mission Support Group commander.

The ceremony, of which Colonel Wright will preside, is set to take place outside of the fitness center. In attendance will be the wife and children of Commander Wolfe, who plan on giving a speech at the ceremony.

"We would like as many people as possible to attend the ceremony," said Lieutenant Paton. "Commander Wolfe was a really strong leader, a good mentor and a great friend. This event is our way to show support for the Wolfe family."