Science and Technology News

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Kehler to 50 SW: 'You are, in fact, the masters of space'

by Staff Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes
50th Space Wing Public Affairs

5/22/2013 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- "You are, in fact, the masters of space."

These are the words Gen. Robert Kehler, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, stated when he visited Schriever Air Force Base May 17 to present the 2012 Omaha Trophy for Global Operations to the 50th Space Wing.

For the second time in three years, the wing has captured the trophy, which is awarded annually to units that demonstrate the highest performance standards in USSTRATCOM's global strategic mission. Selections are based on formal evaluations, meritorious achievement, safety and other factors such as community involvement and humanitarian actions. Col. James Ross, 50 SW commander, received the trophy on behalf of the wing.

"I want to congratulate you on a job spectacularly well done," Kehler said. "The Omaha trophy is a big deal; it's a big deal in Strategic Command and it's a big deal for the people of Omaha. They maintain a connection with this award. They know who gets it. We sit down with our consultation committee members, which is the sponsor of the Omaha trophy. And every year, we review with them who gets the award and why."

Typically, the committee members find a very tough set of choices they have in order to get to a selection.

"Once we make the selection, it's obvious why we did it," Kehler said. "And for this case, it's obvious why we did it."

The general said many of the units assigned to USSTRATCOM are operating in the shadows with the 50 SW as the epitome of "ultimate operation in the shadows."

"It's difficult for the people who benefit the most from what you do, which are the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and in particular, those who are forward deployed, and in some cases, engaged with the enemy, and in other cases, deployed elsewhere around the world, [to appreciate what you do]," he said. "They are the ones who benefit the most from what you do and yet the odds are, they don't know who is doing it. This is our chance to say thanks to you, on their behalf."

During the presentation ceremony, Kehler also talked about the changes in USSTRATCOM and how the wing is not only a part of a legacy of honor and valor, but also a part of legacy of change.

"Not only will we recognize you here today for what you have done and the outstanding way you've done it, but I think when we leave this trophy with you today, we are recognizing your potential," he said. "You are, in fact, the masters of space. We are going to rely on you to do things differently as time passes. We are going to rely on your expertise to keep providing for those forward users who can't fight the American way of warfare without GPS, can't fight the American way of warfare without satellite communications, can't fight the American way of warfare without surveillance, without weather, without all of the other things that are provided by you and people like you."

Additionally, Kehler stressed the award is about the whole team, which includes civil engineers, security forces, medical services and more.

"All of the things that go in to making the skills across an entire wing are being recognized here with the Omaha trophy," he said. "Congratulations to you, you deserve it. You don't get enough praise for the things that you do. You labor in silence and in the shadows."

Ross said the award, the Trophy for Global Operations, is what the wing does with its mission "Command satellites to deliver decisive global effects."

"What General Kehler said was exactly right," he said. "It was a team effort; the entire team is responsible for this. This is your award. Each and every one of you should be proud of how you contributed to the outstanding manner in which we did our mission."

Ross said he is blessed to be part of this team and proud of each and every member.

"Hopefully, you are as proud of this unit as I am," Ross said. "Thank you for what you do for the wing, for the Air Force and for this great nation."

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