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SecAF visits Vandenberg

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James addresses an audience of more than 400 Airmen during an all-call, Sept. 24, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Her three-day visit included a launch operations tour at the Western Range Operations Control Center, a mission brief at the 381st Training Group, a tour of the Joint Space Operations Center and a breakfast with Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tyrona Lawson/Released)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James addresses an audience of more than 400 Airmen during an all-call, Sept. 24, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Her three-day visit included a launch operations tour at the Western Range Operations Control Center, a mission brief at the 381st Training Group, a tour of the Joint Space Operations Center and a breakfast with Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tyrona Lawson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander, greets the Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James during her arrival, Sept. 22, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Her three-day visit lasted from Sept. 22 through 24 and aimed to meet with Airmen as well as witness the successful launch of an unarmed, Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ian Dudley/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander, greets the Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James during her arrival, Sept. 22, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Her three-day visit lasted from Sept. 22 through 24 and aimed to meet with Airmen as well as witness the successful launch of an unarmed, Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ian Dudley/Released)

Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James, talks with Airmen of the 30th Space Wing during breakfast Sept. 24, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The meeting was a chance for Airmen to speak directly with the Secretary about Air Force topics. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tyrona Lawson/ Released)

Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James, talks with Airmen of the 30th Space Wing during breakfast Sept. 24, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The meeting was a chance for Airmen to speak directly with the Secretary about Air Force topics. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tyrona Lawson/ Released)

Airmen have the opportunity to take a couple of selfies with Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James during her visit Sept. 24, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The Secretary also gathered with Airmen for a group photo after a meet and greet breakfast. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tyrona Lawson/Released)

Airmen have the opportunity to take a couple of selfies with Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James during her visit Sept. 24, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The Secretary also gathered with Airmen for a group photo after a meet and greet breakfast. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tyrona Lawson/Released)

Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James, addresses an audience of more than 400 Airmen during an all-call, Sept. 24, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. During the all-call, James talked about her three priorities of taking care of people, balancing the readiness of today with tomorrow’s modernization, and making every dollar count. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tyrona Lawson/Released)

Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James, addresses an audience of more than 400 Airmen during an all-call, Sept. 24, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. During the all-call, James talked about her three priorities of taking care of people, balancing the readiness of today with tomorrow’s modernization, and making every dollar count. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tyrona Lawson/Released)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James conducts an all-call, Sept. 24, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. During her visit, she met with Airmen as well as witnessed the successful launch of an unarmed, Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tyrona Lawson/Released)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James conducts an all-call, Sept. 24, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. During her visit, she met with Airmen as well as witnessed the successful launch of an unarmed, Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tyrona Lawson/Released)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James recently visited VAFB to meet with Airmen and witness the successful launch of an unarmed, Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile.

Her three-day visit included a launch operations tour at the Western Range Operations Control Center, a mission brief at the 381st Training Group, a tour of the Joint Space Operations Center and a breakfast with Airmen.

"I have really been looking forward to this visit," said James. "This base is one of the crown-jewels of our space and ICBM mission and I'm extremely impressed by all of you."

In addition to witnessing a Minuteman III launch, James received a brief from members of the JSPOC, defining space threats at a strategic level.

"I got to visit the JSPOC and was able to hear about the importance of our involvement in space," James continued, saying it's her job to explain the Air Force's air, space and cyberspace missions to various audiences.

For those tasked with briefing the most senior leader in the Air Force, the experience proved to be a memorable one.

"It was a great honor to brief her," said Staff Sgt. Emily Shemwell, 614th Air Operations Squadron NCOIC of counter-space analysis. "She made me feel very comfortable and I thought it was really great that she took the time to ask us about ourselves even though she had a schedule to maintain."

Senior Airman Daniel Spjute, 614th AOC space intelligence analyst, agrees his interaction with James will not soon be forgotten.

"It was a humbling experience to be selected as one of the briefers for her visit," said Spjute. "It gives you a sense of accomplishment to know you are helping to inform one of the most important decision makers in the Department of Defense."

The secretary's visit concluded with an all-call where she explained her highest priorities to Airmen from around the base.

"The three priorities I established when I came in as the Secretary of the Air Force were number one taking care of people," she said. "Number two, making sure we provide the right readiness today, but also keeping our eye on the future of readiness which means modernizing our Air Force. The third priority is in everything we do, and in all ways, we have to make every dollar count. We are all ultimately stewards of the taxpayers' dollars. Those dollars are precious and we can't afford to waste any of them."

James also touched on the Air Force's current involvement in operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, commonly referred to as ISIL, or ISIS.

"As you know, the president has said we are going to degrade and ultimately destroy this completely barbaric group," said James. "And roughly 70 percent of these airstrikes over the last several weeks have been by the United States Air Force."

Closing her address to the more than 400 Airmen present, James articulated her appreciation and shared her thoughts on Air Force core values.

"What you do here is extremely important and spending this time with you allows me to go back to Washington and tell this story even better" she said. "It's important to keep those core values of integrity, service and excellence near and dear to you. Live by them without exception."

James concluded by saying the key to every good organization is its people and the Air Force is comprised of great people.

"I'm very proud to now call myself an Airman and to serve alongside all of you," she said.