Mission, Airmen highlight 'Year of Connection'

Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, 45th Space Wing commander, and launch team, pose with Bill Nye, Planetary Society CEO, in the Morrell Operations Center, May 21, 2015, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Team Patrick-Cape hosted Bill Nye the Science Guy and the Planetary Society team for a tour of CCAFS and met with several Airmen. (Courtesy photo/Navid Baraty/ Planetary Society) (For limited release)

Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, 45th Space Wing commander, and launch team, pose with Bill Nye, Planetary Society CEO, in the Morrell Operations Center, May 21, 2015, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Team Patrick-Cape hosted Bill Nye the Science Guy and the Planetary Society team for a tour of CCAFS and met with several Airmen. (Courtesy photo/Navid Baraty/ Planetary Society) (For limited release)

Bill Nye, Planetary Society CEO, pins a LightSail mission patch on the wall inside the Morrell Operations Center, May 21, 2015, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Team Patrick-Cape hosted Bill Nye the Science Guy and the Planetary Society team for a tour of CCAFS and met with several Airmen. (Courtesy photo/Navid Baraty/Planetary Society) (For limited release)

Bill Nye, Planetary Society CEO, pins a LightSail mission patch on the wall inside the Morrell Operations Center, May 21, 2015, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Team Patrick-Cape hosted Bill Nye the Science Guy and the Planetary Society team for a tour of CCAFS and met with several Airmen. (Courtesy photo/Navid Baraty/Planetary Society) (For limited release)

Members of Team Patrick-Cape pose with Bill Nye, Planetary Society CEO, at the Air Force Space and Missile History Center, prior to a press conference, May 20, 2015, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Team Patrick-Cape hosted Bill Nye the Science Guy and the Planetary Society team for a tour of CCAFS and met with several Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo/Heidi Hunt) (Released)

Members of Team Patrick-Cape pose with Bill Nye, Planetary Society CEO, at the Air Force Space and Missile History Center, prior to a press conference, May 20, 2015, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Team Patrick-Cape hosted Bill Nye the Science Guy and the Planetary Society team for a tour of CCAFS and met with several Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo/Heidi Hunt) (Released)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- First, let me say thanks again to Team Patrick-Cape on our successful launch of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), May 20, 2015, from Space Launch Complex 41, on board an Atlas V rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Kudos to the Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center, United Launch Alliance and all mission partners who came together - once again - to prove where the best space launch team in the world calls home.

Right here!

A few hours prior to liftoff, we were also proud to host "Bill Nye the Science Guy" and the Planetary Society team on a tour of the Morrell Operations Center (MOC).

They were here because not only did we get the X-37B into orbit, but our team also was able to launch 10 of their CubeSats as part of a secondary payload on board the Centaur upper stage.

After meeting with some of our world class personnel from the 1st Range Operations and Weather Squadrons, and our 45th SW Safety Office, we met Bill briefly in the Mission Control Room of the MOC, just before they were to visit the Weather Balloon Station and shake hands with our famous "Weather-Bot."

In the  MCR, he told us how proud he was to pin his team's mission badge on our control room wall, then went on to say how much their team appreciated our launch support -- and the access and behind-the-scenes look at all that goes into making a highly sophisticated launch come together.

We thanked him, then took the opportunity to explain to Bill how much we enjoy connecting people to our mission, and none more so than every Airman (the "Big A") within the 45th Space Wing.

When our people feel connected, they become invested in not only the big picture, but in every frame it takes to make it.

Need proof? I'm glad you asked.

About seven hours after liftoff, our Junior Enlisted Advisory Council hosted the monthly Military Affairs Council (MAC) meeting here at Patrick Air Force Base.

One-by-one, six junior enlisted Airmen (representing all four groups), confidently took the stage and simply talked about how their personal efforts and unit's mission were connected on making our No. 1 priority, "100 percent mission success" more than just a bumper sticker.

Those taking an active role in the meeting were Tech. Sgt. Michael Asuncion, 45th CES, who took the lead, organizing the meeting and readying the venue (his wife, Rose, even picked up the food and personally baked all the desserts). 

Those speaking were Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Hunter, 45th WS, Tech. Sgt. Thomas Miller, 45th CES, Staff Sgt. Alexandria Brye, 45th SFS, Staff Sgt. Clint Wall, 45th LCSS, Senior Airman Quannel Courts, 45th SFS and Senior Airman Kate Hawley, 45th MDOS.

There were no handouts, no PowerPoint slides -- just an old-fashioned two-way conversation with the future of our Air Force and local civic leaders.

We couldn't have picked better Airmen to speak that evening, because in our minds, nothing explains things better or carries more credence than a first-person account detailing our "Year of Connection" in 2015.

What a great job by all!

And just when I didn't think I could be more proud to be your commander ...

Stay focused, Sharks!