News>Air Force Space Command welcomes new commander
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz (left) hands the Air Force Space Command flag to Gen. William Shelton (right) as he becomes the 15th commander of AFSPC in a ceremony Jan. 5 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Duncan Wood)
Gen. William L. Shelton, Commander, Air Force Space Command, addresses those present during the AFSPC change of command at Peterson Air Force Base. Upon acceptance of command General Shelton said, “I’ve been in and out of AFSPC since 1986, so to have the good fortune to come back to command this great organization is truly a special privilege.”He has become the 15th commander of AFSPC Jan. 5. (Air Force photo/Duncan Wood)
Gen. William Shelton receives his first salute from the men and women of Air Force Space Command upon becoming the 15th commander of AFSPC in a ceremony Jan. 5 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Duncan Wood)
Gen. William L. Shelton hands the Air Force Space Command guidon to Chief Master Sgt. Richard T. Small, AFSPC Command Chief Master Sergeant, after becoming the 15th commander of AFSPC during the change of command ceremony at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. Jan. 5. (Air Force photo/Duncan Wood)
1/5/2011 - Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. -- Air Force Space Command welcomed a new commander during a change of command ceremony here Jan. 5.
Gen. William L. Shelton accepted command from Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz in front of an audience of family, community members and AFSPC personnel.
In General Schwartz's opening comments, he bid a fond farewell to General Kehler and gave a warm welcome to General Shelton and his wife back to AFSPC and Colorado.
"General Kehler, you are well-prepared for the challenge of U.S. Strategic Command and you are certainly deserving of this honor," said General Schwartz. "Suzie and I wish you and Marj all the best as you turn a new page in this exciting chapter for your family.
"As we look forward to the prospects of the New Year, we congratulate Willie and Linda on this very special occasion, as we welcome them back to Colorado where they have enjoyed a number of assignments over the years, including several here at Air Force Space Command," General Schwartz continued.
Upon acceptance of command, General Shelton said, "I've been in and out of Air Force Space Command since 1986, so to have the good fortune to come back to command this great organization is truly a special privilege."
He also recognized the role AFSPC personnel have in the security of the nation, as well as the public's reliance on the command.
"Your dedicated work in both the space and cyberspace arenas keeps this command in a prominent role in our national security," General Shelton said. "It is a unique command comprised of vast technical capability, both in operations and in acquisition, with assets across the globe and reaching deep into space."
General Shelton stressed his desire to continue the tradition of excellence the command has built over its 28 year history.
"It's the spirit of teamwork, the willingness to listen to ideas other than our own, and the recognition of the important contributions of each and every member that makes this command hum," he said. "I am extremely proud to be back with you as your commander, and I promise you my best efforts every day. I will likewise count on each of you to bring your best efforts every day--as I know you will."
General Schwartz commended General Shelton on his past leadership endeavors and voiced his optimism for his future in AFSPC.
"Willie, you come with proven leadership and remarkable performance, most recently as the Air Force Assistant Vice Chief of Staff," General Schwartz said. "As you step into this new role, you indeed have very, very big shoes to fill. We are confident you will continue to excel."
General Shelton was also recognized by Brad Henry, Governor of the State of Oklahoma, through an official proclamation naming January 5, 2011 "General William L. Shelton Day" in his hometown of the State of Oklahoma.
General Shelton entered the Air Force in 1976 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in astronautical engineering. Prior to assuming his current position, General Shelton was the Air Force Assistant Vice Chief of Staff and the Director of the Air Staff at the Pentagon.
Gen. C. Robert Kehler, who had served as the commander of AFSPC since October 2007, will be the next commander of USSTRATCOM, located at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.
"General Kehler has left an enduring legacy since October of 2007," General Schwartz said. "His diligence and steady leadership helped assure the nation's access to and freedom of action in space."