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The Space & Missile Times comes out of retirement

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Space & Missile Times will come out of a 16-month retirement on Feb. 28 to continue its job of informing Airmen, retired service members, dependants and civilian employees as a 30th Space Wing Public Affairs-produced paper.

Col. Steve Tanous, 30th Space Wing commander, decided to bring back the highly visible commander's communication tool after re-evaluating the end of production of the Space & Missile Times in 2006. That decision was based on a Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs note to commanders in the summer of 2006. The note stated that due to manning constraints and deployment tempos, individual bases were allowed to decide to cease production of their newspaper.

"I feel the paper is an important tool a commander should be able to have at his disposal," Colonel Tanous said. "The paper is something Airmen, and the Vandenberg community as a whole, are comfortable with.

"I also like the fact that it's for Airmen, by Airmen," he added. "While the Space Country Times did a great job, I think the Airmen of public affairs have a unique perspective when generating a product like this that others may not have. I definitely look forward to getting the new issue every Thursday and seeing how members of the Vandenberg community continue to have an impact on the base and the Air Force."

The publishers at Lee Central Coast Newspapers produced Space Country Times to fill the void left when the Space & Missile Times ceased production. They published 66 issues which were generally well received by the base community.

The public affairs office focused on the internet to release information about the base while the Space & Missile Times was halted. When the paper returns, the office will continue to use the public website as a information tool for news and command messages.

The return of the Space & Missile Times will bring back a familiar appearance to newsstands. However, there will be some subtle visual changes. Another change will be a delivery day of Thursday instead of Friday.

The base paper has gone through many changes over the years, including changes to its appearance and four name changes. Publication of Strategic Air Command's SAC Missileer began in July 1958 and was well underway when it announced the base's name change to Vandenberg Air Force Base, Oct. 4, 1958. From the base's first launch on Dec. 16, 1958, to the 1,867th launch Sept. 1, 2006, the base newspaper had chronicled the lives and events of Vandenberg.

With another change, the merger of photographers, broadcasters and graphic artists with public affairs in October 2007 broadened the office's abilities to produce a more diverse newspaper product.

"The addition of our photographers and graphic artists allows us to explore some more artistic avenues we weren't necessarily able to look at before," said Maj. Tina Barber-Matthew, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs chief. "We have some Air Force-level award winners here and it really helps us to accomplish some remarkable things artistically. Plus, with a staff of nearly 70 Airmen as opposed to six, we can really brainstorm and think of communication on a more strategic level."

Base stories and information will continue to be posted on the base's website at www.vandenberg.af.mil.