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Space welcomes new 3-star: billet showcases mission importance

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- General Kevin P. Chilton, Commander, U.S. Strategic Command (left) and Mrs. Linda Shelton (right) pin a third star on Lieutenant General William Shelton, at an official ceremony held Tuesday at Vandenberg Air Force Base.  General Shelton is Commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Space, U.S. Strategic Command and Commander of 14th Air Force, Air Force Space Command. General Shelton  was confirmed by Congress for his third star December 19, 2007.  General Chilton was the presiding officer for the ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christian Thomas)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, Commander, U.S. Strategic Command (left) and Mrs. Linda Shelton (right) pin a third star on Lieutenant Gen. William Shelton, at an official ceremony held Jan. 8 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. General Shelton is Commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Space, U.S. Strategic Command and Commander of 14th Air Force, Air Force Space Command. General Shelton was confirmed by Congress for his third star Dec. 19, 2007. General Chilton was the presiding officer for the ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christian Thomas)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Lt. Gen. William Shelton, Commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Space, U.S Strategic Command, and Commander of 14th Air Force, Air Force Space Command, pinned on his third star Tuesday in an official ceremony held at Vandenberg AFB.

General Kevin P. Chilton, Commander, U.S. Strategic Command, was the presiding official for the ceremony, which was attended by family and friends, as well as military and civilian members of both the 14th Air Force and the Joint Functional Component Command for Space.

"The Joint Functional Component Command for Space needs a lieutenant general in command," said General Chilton. "More importantly we need Willie Shelton to increase our focus on the mission of space."

General C. Robert "Bob" Kehler, Commander, Air Force Space Command, also participated in Tuesday's ceremony, presenting General Shelton with his personal three star flag, symbolizing his promotion.

"This is a huge day for the United States Air Force and Air Force Space Command," General Kehler stated. "We have decided that it's most appropriate for the Commander of 14th Air Force to once again be a three-star general. That says something about what our Air Force believes about the space business and that significance should not be lost on any of us."

The U.S. Senate confirmed General Shelton on Dec. 19 for appointment to his new rank. He will continue to serve in his current position, leading five Air Force wings, as well as Navy and Army operational space units, under both joint and Air Force responsibilities.

The promotion reflects the growing importance of the Joint Functional Component Command for Space and the 14th Air Force to the security of the nation, in addition to recognizing General Shelton's ability to serve at the higher rank.

"There are two thoughts that come to mind during this ceremony," General Shelton shared with the audience. "I've been very fortunate, in fact blessed, and secondly I need to share the credit and thank many people."

General Shelton stated that balance between family and his Air Force profession were critical to his success. Thanking his wife, Linda, and children Sara, a captain in the Air Force, and Joel, a first lieutenant in the Air Force, for their commitment to the Air Force lifestyle.

"I stand on the strong shoulders of previous 14th Air Force Commanders who paved the way," General Shelton continued. "We are the organization where space comes together. I am humbled and proud to be serving in this position."

General Shelton became the Commander of the 14th Air Force in May 2005 and his duties expanded in July 2006 as he assumed command of the Joint Functional Component Command for Space.

As the U.S. Air Force's operational space component to USSTRATCOM, General Shelton leads more than 20,500 personnel responsible for providing missile warning, space superiority, space situational awareness, satellite operations, space launch and range operations. As Commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Space he directs all assigned and attached USSTRATCOM space forces providing tailored, responsive, local and global space effects in support of national, USSTRATCOM and combatant commander objectives.