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JFCC Space, 14th Air Force welcome new commander

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Admiral Cecil Haney, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, passes the Joint Functional Component Command for Space flag to Lt. Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, JFCC Space and 14th Air Force commander, in a change of command ceremony Jan. 31, 2014, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Lt. Gen. Raymond succeeded Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, who led JFCC Space and 14th AF since January 2011.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Admiral Cecil Haney, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, passes the Joint Functional Component Command for Space flag to Lt. Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, JFCC Space and 14th Air Force commander, in a change of command ceremony Jan. 31, 2014, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Lt. Gen. Raymond succeeded Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, who led JFCC Space and 14th AF since January 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Lt. Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, Joint Functional Component Command for Space and 14th Air Force commander, delivers a speech following acceptance of command here Jan. 31, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Yvonne Morales)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Lt. Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, Joint Functional Component Command for Space and 14th Air Force commander, delivers a speech following acceptance of command here Jan. 31, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Yvonne Morales)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – General William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command, passes the 14th Air Force flag to Lt. Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, JFCC Space and 14th AF commander, in a change of command ceremony Jan. 31, 2014, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Lt. Gen. Raymond succeeded Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, who led JFCC Space and 14th AF since January 2011.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – General William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command, passes the 14th Air Force flag to Lt. Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, JFCC Space and 14th AF commander, in a change of command ceremony Jan. 31, 2014, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Lt. Gen. Raymond succeeded Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, who led JFCC Space and 14th AF since January 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Lt. Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, Joint Functional Component Command for Space and 14th Air Force commander, kneels as his wife, Mollie (left), and his mother, Barbara Raymond, pin on his third star during his promotion ceremony Jan. 31, 2014. The ceremony was held at the Pacific Coast Club here where he was promoted from major general to lieutenant general prior to accepting command of JFCC Space and 14th AF. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Lt. Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, Joint Functional Component Command for Space and 14th Air Force commander, kneels as his wife, Mollie (left), and his mother, Barbara Raymond, pin on his third star during his promotion ceremony Jan. 31, 2014. The ceremony was held at the Pacific Coast Club here where he was promoted from major general to lieutenant general prior to accepting command of JFCC Space and 14th AF. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Lt. Gen. John W. "Jay" Raymond assumed command of Joint Functional Component Command for Space and 14th Air Force during a ceremony at the Joint Space Operations Center here Jan. 31, 2014.

Lt. Gen. Raymond, who was promoted to lieutenant general an hour prior to the change of command, previously served as the director of plans and policy at U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.

Admiral Cecil Haney, commander of USSTRATCOM, and General William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command, presided over the ceremony during which Lt. Gen. Susan Helms relinquished command to Raymond.

During his remarks, General Shelton stressed the importance of the space mission and welcomed Raymond into his new role.

"The mission here at 14th Air Force is so incredibly important for our nation and the world," said General Shelton. "No one in our Air Force is more qualified to take over this job than Jay Raymond. I have complete confidence in him, and I know it's going to be a great ride."

Admiral Haney echoed General Shelton's trust in Lt. Gen. Raymond, and discussed the significant role JFCC Space plays in USSTRATCOM's strategic deterrence and assurance efforts.

"Fourteenth Air Force and JFCC Space provide our nation with a unique skill set that I will continue to advocate for in this strategic environment," said Admiral Haney. "Without the capability this organization delivers, we would not be able to maintain a credible deterrent. I know Lt. Gen. Raymond will only continue to build upon the outstanding work accomplished here at JFCC Space."

Lt. Gen. Raymond expressed his excitement to return to Vandenberg and to continue the growth of JFCC Space and the 14th AF.

"I can't begin to describe how excited and humbled I am to be given the opportunity to lead this world class team of professionals and to return to Vandenberg Air Force Base," said Lt. Gen. Raymond. "The complex strategic environment we face today demands we build upon the great work that has been done by our predecessors; many of whom are with us today. We must focus on flawlessly operating, commanding and controlling, protecting, and defending our space capabilities in order to preserve the strategic advantage they provide our nation, our allies and our joint force."

Lt. Gen. Raymond was commissioned through the ROTC program at Clemson University in 1984. He was previously stationed at Vandenberg AFB from June 2005 through June 2007 when he commanded the 30th Operations Group. He has also commanded the 5th Space Surveillance Squadron at Royal Air Force Feltwell, England, and the 21st Space Wing at Peterson AFB, Colo. Lt. Gen. Raymond deployed to Southwest Asia in 2006 as Director of Space Forces in support of operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

As the commander of JFCC Space, which is a component of USSTRATCOM, Lt. Gen. Raymond is responsible for executing continuous, integrated space operations to deliver theater and global effects in support of national and combatant commander objectives.

As the commander of 14th AF, the Air Force's sole Numbered Air Force for space, Lt. Gen. Raymond leads an operational mission that includes space launch from the east and west coasts, satellite command and control, missile warning, space situational awareness and command and control of assigned and attached joint space forces.

Lt. Gen. Helms will retire later this year after more than 33 years of service in the U.S. Air Force.

"No Numbered Air Force commander has ever been as lucky as I am today," said Lt. Gen. Helms. "It has been the greatest privilege and most humbling honor to be your commander. I am thrilled for the organization moving forward, and thrilled for General Raymond as he takes over command."