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Vandenberg 'simply the best,' says wing commander

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Col. David Buck, 30th Space Wing commander, speaks at the 30th SW change of command ceremony in June. (U.S. Air Force photo / Airman 1st Class Jonathan Olds)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Col. David Buck, 30th Space Wing commander, speaks at the 30th SW change of command ceremony in June. (U.S. Air Force photo / Airman 1st Class Jonathan Olds)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- While there is much preparation and training ahead, Vandenberg will prove during the Operational Readiness Inspection that "Team Vandenberg comes to work every day with excellence on our mind--we cannot, and will not, accept anything less than perfection," said the 30th Space Wing commander. 

"I'm excited to showcase our day-to-day execution of the mission," said Col David Buck. "(The ORI) is our external look, an external validation of what I already know ... Team Vandenberg is simply the best." 

The upcoming ORI was one of many topics the commander touched on during an interview with local news outlets Wednesday. Among those subjects was the fact that he had been stationed at Vandenberg twice before, the last time in 1993. 

"This is my third time back at Vandenberg," Colonel Buck said. "One thing that hasn't changed is the community relationship. The community support here is through the roof." 

Close community ties are something that works both ways, with both Vandenberg and its neighbors sharing a sense of responsibility and caring for one another, he said. 

"We enjoy shared responsibilities to protect the community," said the colonel. "It's important to partner versus just coexisting. Our mutual aid agreements are an example ... tangible proof of how much we care about this community." 

Although Vandenberg's community relations have not changed, Colonel Buck said one thing here is very different: base housing. The new privatized homes on base give junior Airmen the opportunity to live in homes that are not only close to work, save on gas and time, but are also bigger and nicer than what they may be able to afford off base. 

Housing is not the only way the commander wants to take care of his Airmen. All his commanders and first sergeants understand the importance of taking care of the families of deployed service members. While the colonel and his commanders will take care of their Airmen, through family support, as well as providing all the tools and training to accomplish the mission, the Airmen have responsibilities of their own. 

"Not only do I care about them, but I care that they're doing the job right every single day," the commander said. "They're not going to like every job, but they need to do it to the best of their ability. They need to have the right training, understand the requirements, have adequate resources, then execute to the best of their ability. Everyone is accountable; attitude is everything." 

Mission accomplishment, taking care of the Airmen and the ORI are immediate goals, but in the end, when historians look back at his time as commander of the 30th Space Wing, Colonel Buck said he wants to help set the course to guarantee the United States' preeminence in space. 

"Vandenberg is the gateway to space," he said. "So we need guaranteed mission assurance while incorporating new and innovative ways of doing business. We need to think about how we can do things more efficiently on tighter budgets -- incorporating efficiencies into everyday operations; leveraging technology, things like GPS metric tracking, automatic flight termination systems; leveraging technology instead of saying this is the way we've always done it." 

It's the mission, the people, the community ... the ability to affect the future of war fighting, that makes Vandenberg the crown jewel, the colonel said.