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Vandenberg to dedicate Reagan memorial

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 30th Space Wing and Missile Defense Agency will dedicate the Ronald Reagan Memorial at a ceremony March 27 here. 

The dedication ceremony coincides with the 25th anniversary of President Reagan's strategic defense initiative speech. 

Located at the Del Punta Observation Site on North Vandenberg, the memorial, which includes a bust of the former president, is two years in the making. 

In 2006, the launch facilities associated with the ground-based midcourse defense program were renamed the Ronald W. Reagan missile defense site. Soon after, Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens sponsored a project to construct a monument at the observation site. The 30th SW began construction last year using a design created by architect Bob Woods. 

"The center piece of that site is the Ronald Reagan statue, a shoulders-up bust," said Doug Boothe, director of the Operations Support Group-Vandenberg for the Missile Defense Agency ground-based midcourse defense joint program. "That particular statue was commissioned by the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance and was presented as a gift to the Missile Defense Agency." 

Distinguished visitors attending the ceremony include Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, director of the Missile Defense Agency. The Air Force's Band of the Golden West, from Travis AFB, Calif., will perform at the ceremony and a B-1B Lancer from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., will conduct a flyover. The 100th Missile Defense Brigade support detachment here will perform the initial raising of the flag. 

The newly-renovated site is made up of a 150-foot long walkway that ends in a 50-foot diameter circle. The 2-foot-6-inch bust of President Reagan sits on an 11-foot high pedestal, which is set with two plaques - one shows the presidential seal and the other is engraved with a quote from the former president's "Star Wars" speech. 

The observation site is open to all military, dependents and contractors with base access.