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5th Space Launch Squadron commander assumes command of 45th Launch Support Squadron

Col. Steven Lang, commander of the 45th Launch Group presents Lt. Col. Waylon Mitchell, commander of the 45th Launch Support Squadron and the 5th Space Launch Squadron, with the 45th LCSS guidon May 31, 2018 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Mitchell assumed command from Lt. Col. Kathryn Cantu, and took on the role of dual-hatted commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe Thacker)

Col. Steven Lang, commander of the 45th Launch Group presents Lt. Col. Waylon Mitchell, commander of the 45th Launch Support Squadron and the 5th Space Launch Squadron, with the 45th LCSS guidon May 31, 2018 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Mitchell assumed command from Lt. Col. Kathryn Cantu, and took on the role of dual-hatted commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe Thacker)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. --

Lt. Col. Waylon Mitchell, commander of the 5th Space Launch Squadron (SLS) assumes command of the 45th Launch Support Squadron (LCSS) May 31 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, accepting the command from Lt. Col. Kathryn Cantu.

The change of command ceremony is one of many steps the 45th Space Wing is taking to revitalize the squadron. In time, the 45th LCSS will inactivate and merge with the 5th SLS, under Mitchell, their dual-hatted commander.

“Lt. Col. Cantu was at the forefront of organizational change for the squadron,” said Col. Steven Lang, 45th Launch Group commander. “She was key to this mission. This is a bittersweet moment, letting go of such a great commander, but as we continue on with our mission and execute it to the best of our abilities – there is no doubt that we have incredible leadership in Lt. Col. Mitchell.”

This ceremony cements the 45th Space Wing's role as a forerunner in the race for heightened innovation, efficiency and overall squadron revitalization – as 45th Space Wing commander Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith continues to lead the wing towards the vision of a cohesive, revitalized work force.

The steps the wing is taking will only further integrate the space mission with that of the Air Force itself. The drive to 48 launches a year is only the beginning, the steps we take here are posturing us to be the most successful space organization of the next 20 years, said Monteith.

“I am absolutely committed to taking care of all of my Airmen, 5th SLS and 45th LCSS alike,” said Mitchell. “On the mission-front, our scope will continue to grow but I will maintain the laser focus on mission assurance and support functions that we always have. I understand the gravity of the tasks that lie ahead and I will give it my all every day.”

The 45th LCSS’s mission closely coincides with the 5th SLS – as both provide mission assurance for launches from the Eastern Range. The 5th SLS is responsible for boosters and the LCSS’s responsibility lies with the spacecraft itself.

 “It has been a pleasure to command, these Airmen embrace change and innovation like no other,” said Cantu. “I know that I’m leaving the squadron in good hands. There is not a better person in the Air Force to take command of the LCSS than Lt. Col. Mitchell. I know everyone will continue to knock it out of the park."

Bringing both squadrons under one commander reduces some of the duplication of effort by both parties and provides a more cohesive squadron feel to operations. With a mission so important, Airmen so innovative and such strong leadership – the current course the 45th Space Wing can only drives the wing closer to launch enterprise.