By 2nd Lt. Marie Denson
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
The new 14th Air Force commander visited the 50th Space Wing March 10 to gain a better understanding of the base’s people and mission.
Lt. Gen. Susan Helms took command of the 14th Air Force Jan. 21 and now leads more than 20,500 personnel responsible for providing missile warning, space superiority, space situational awareness, satellite operations, space launch and range operations — many of whom are stationed here.
While touring the base, General Helms spoke with the Airmen that operate and support more than 170 Department of Defense satellites on a daily basis providing combat effects to the warfighter around the world.
“This was a tremendous opportunity for me, considering she has always been one of my role models,” said 2nd Lt. Sarah Stewart, 22nd Space Operations Squadron Mission Integration program manager. “I still remember watching her onboard the International Space Station in IMAX when I was 15. Nine years later, I was excited to have the chance to let her know how my job affects global satellite operations today. General Helms had several questions, ranging from how we handle launches to electromagnetic interference. I was very impressed with the level of interest that she showed in all the details of our day to day operations.”
The likely highlight of the general’s visit was her lunch with 16 of Schriever’s active duty members.
During the meal, the conversation touched on topics ranging from being among the first women admitted into the USAF Academy, why she chose to become an astronaut, her world-record 8 hour, 56 minute space walk, and what her message is to people as she visits the bases under her command.
“You are your own inhibitors,” General Helms said. “I am not a believer that you have to accept all the barriers that are put in your way. The military offers so many opportunities. Be willing to explore those opportunities because it’s a great adventure while also doing one of the most wonderful things you could do, and that is to serve your country.”
She reminded Schriever members that each person has a role in keeping the warfighter and also the space domain safe.
“The 14th AF is entrusted to serve and protect the AOR in space,” she said. “We’re entrusted with operating and protecting the space domain and that is a high calling in itself. There are threats out there that are developing and we are entrusted with staying ahead of those threats.”
Colonel Wayne Monteith, 50th Space Wing commander showcased the wing’s people and operations to the general.
“It was an honor to give General Helms an up close view of the great things we are doing here at Schriever,” he said. “Space takes dedicated people and we are making an impact around the world because of their efforts.”