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Fourteenth AF commander makes first 30th SW visit

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.-  Lt. Gen. Larry James is greeted by Wayne Sanford of MACTEC Construction at the site of the new fitness center.  The fitness center was one of the many stops during General James' official base tour Jan. 8. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Heather R. Shaw)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.- Lt. Gen. Larry James is greeted by Wayne Sanford of MACTEC Construction at the site of the new fitness center. The fitness center was one of the many stops during General James' official base tour Jan. 8. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Heather R. Shaw)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The new 14th Air Force commander made his first official visit to the 30th Space Wing here Jan. 8 since assuming command in mid-December.

Lt. Gen. Larry James visited with Airmen and received tours and briefings at a variety of locations around the base, including the G.I. Java, unaccompanied Airman dorms, 30th Medical Group Clinic, renovated housing areas and the Western Range Operations Control Center.

The first stop on his tour was Breakers, the base dining facility, where he had breakfast with a variety of Airmen representing units from the entire wing.

"It was a great opportunity to have breakfast with the Airmen there," General James said. "They were very sharp and definitely motivated. They're excited about what they do and excited about the Air Force; and they understand how all of that contributes to the overall mission."

General James, now on his second assignment at Vandenberg, also discussed the important role Vandenberg and the 30th SW play in the Global War on Terror.

"What the 30th Space Wing does for the warfighter is extremely important," the general explained. "The 30th Space Wing gets the critical systems into orbit that directly assist warfighters around the world. Without the 30th Space Wing doing it right, those systems don't get into orbit.

"The launch phase is the most dangerous part of a satellite's life; and a million things can go right, but it only takes one thing to cause a catastrophic problem," General James continued. "Without the 30th Space Wing, we would not have those very capable assets on orbit that we must have to conduct our operations today."

"The Airmen of the 30th Space Wing are in the heart of the fight day in and day out," he said.

When asked about the future of Vandenberg, General James quickly referred to the future of space launch. He explained a leaner, smarter space launch process and the role Vandenberg plays in making that happen.

"We want space launch to be cheaper and more responsive," he said. "Those are vectors we've been trying to go down for many years and certainly the 30th Space Wing will play an extremely important role in that.

"We're going to see more small satellites and experimental satellites; more small rockets and experimental rockets; and we need to figure out how to handle that here at Vandenberg" the general continued. "We need to make this a launch friendly environment for those types of systems and make it very easy for them to come and do business here."

General James also has high expectations of the Airmen under his command.

"I expect a mission focus," General James said. "Every Airman needs to understand their part in executing the overall mission of Space Command, the 14th Air Force and the 30th Space Wing. We've all got an important role to play; understanding that and taking it forward is extremely important. They should come to work every day with the attitude that, 'I'm going to get the job done, I'm going to get it done right and I'm going to do it better.'"

In line with his view of a leaner, smarter Air Force, General James expects the Airmen on the front line to not only think of ways to do things better, but share that information so it can become a defined process.

"I want Airmen to drive change," he said. "We can't afford to do things the same way we did them five years ago, two years ago, or even last year. We always have to try and find ways to do business better. The people on the front lines know better than anyone else how to best get the job done."

General James also wants Airmen to remember to be a good Wingman and have fun in the process.

"Take care of yourself; take care of each other," he said. "The most critical resource we have is our people -- without our military, civilians, contractors and community supporters, the mission doesn't happen."