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One team, one dream

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif -- The wing has been working tirelessly the past several months checking and double checking self assessment programs, conducting emergency management exercises, and sharpening our deployment processes in anticipation of the upcoming inspection. However, we sometimes become so focused on our individual efforts, that we overlook a critical element of inspection success: cohesion and teamwork.

Coaches will tell you that cohesion, defined as the act of sticking together, is the key to winning championships in any team sport. As Babe Ruth once said, "The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime." If you doubt the
importance of team cohesion, just consider the fate of the 2004 U.S. Men's Olympic Basketball Team.

Led by the likes of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson and Tim Duncan, the 2004 Dream Team had been hastily put together just before the start of the Athens Games. Lacking unity, the hoopsters were strong on individual talent but weak on teamwork. The U.S. team wasn't really a team at all, but was an impressive collection of multi-million dollar MVP talent. During the course of the tournament, the importance of team cohesion became evident as the U.S. team was soundly defeated by their little known rivals from Puerto Rico. Without a single NBA player on its roster, the Puerto Ricans became only the second team in history to defeat the U.S. Olympic basketball team. The U.S. team would eventually lose two more games and return home without a gold medal.

The lesson here is clear: to achieve something great, we must work together with a common, unifying purpose. We live that important lesson with every launch from the Western Range; whether it be our security forces providing area clearance and protecting our launch facilities, to our civil engineers keeping our fragile launch infrastructure operational, to our mission assurance technicians supervising a hazardous fueling operation, to our range operators commanding range instrumentation. It is obvious that none of us can achieve something as great as all of us working together.

Take pride in the fact that you are a member of the greatest range and spacelift team in the world. Be confident that you know your job better than anyone else. And finally, trust in your teammates, but also demand their excellence-don't accept anything less. If you have prepared properly, cohesion and teamwork is the final ingredient to our success!