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4-star visits VAFB

General William L. Shelton, Commander, Air Force Space Command, meets with education center employees here, Jan 30. Immediately following his landing, General Shelton toured the base he once called home as a 2nd Lt. more than two decades ago. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Shane M. Phipps)

General William L. Shelton, Commander, Air Force Space Command, meets with education center employees here, Jan 30. Immediately following his landing, General Shelton toured the base he once called home as a 2nd Lt. more than two decades ago. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Shane M. Phipps)

Lt. Col. Jennifer Berenger, 30th Range Management Squadron Commander, briefs General William L. Shelton, Commander, Air Force Space Command, here, Jan. 30. Squadron commanders from around base were afforded an opportunity to explain their mission priorities to General Shelton. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Shane M. Phipps)

Lt. Col. Jennifer Berenger, 30th Range Management Squadron Commander, briefs General William L. Shelton, Commander, Air Force Space Command, here, Jan. 30. Squadron commanders from around base were afforded an opportunity to explain their mission priorities to General Shelton. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Shane M. Phipps)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- VAFB recently hosted a visit from General William L. Shelton, Commander, Air Force Space Command, here, Jan. 30.

Immediately following his landing, General Shelton toured the base he once called home as a 2nd Lt. more than two decades ago.

"I have a lot of fond memories of being a lieutenant here at Vandenberg," said General Shelton. "Our first child was born here in 1979, and we really had a good time."

After viewing various facets of the installation, from the 30th Operations Group to the new education center and a Security Forces Squadron small unmanned aircraft system, dubbed the "raven," General Shelton completed the tour by speaking to several Airmen from around base, the most popular topic being force reductions.

"I know FY14 is going to be hard, particularly for younger folks, as they face force reductions and everything that's going to occur, but if we can stay focused on the good stuff we're doing - I think we're going to be okay," said General Shelton.

With the Air Force set on trimming roughly 25,000 Airmen from its ranks, he made it a priority to explain the future.

"If we don't get the reductions we need from each career field, we get into involuntary measures, which nobody wants to do," said General Shelton. "This is a gut-wrenching time and none of this was done casually. The Chief of Staff of the Air Force is a good friend of mine and I know this breaks his heart, but we've got to do it. We just don't have the money."

Chief Master Sgt. Douglas McIntyre, AFSPC Command Chief Master Sgt., was also present to share his thoughts on the Air Force's current situation.

"I'd love to be able to stand here and say this is what you really need to know for force structure and this is how it's going to play out, but I don't know that," said Chief McIntyre. "My best advice is every single day I try to be the best chief I can be for the 10,000 enlisted in AFSPC. Some days I fall short but the next day I get up, brush myself off and try to be the best I can be. So, if you use that mentality you'll be alright."

General Shelton agreed during these trying times it is essential to continue to perform as well as possible and to remain focused on Air Force values.

"Sometimes it seems like some jobs are better than others, but it really doesn't matter," said General Shelton. "Just do your best at that particular job and I think that's what breeds happiness. You ought to be focused on doing the best you can and taking care of the people around you - that's what we're about as a force."