Commentary by Col. Stanley Stafira Jr.
50th Space Wing vice commander
Let me begin by saying thank you to the whole Schriever AFB team for the warm welcome I received upon arriving here. It is nice to see familiar faces as well as meet new people that make this base such a special place to work. I could not be happier to be in the 50th Space Wing again. This is my third assignment to Schriever, starting in 1999 with a two year tour in the Space Warfare Center, now the Space Innovation and Development Center. I was also assigned here in 2004 as the chief of safety and stayed in the wing but moved to New Hampshire in 2005 to serve as the 23rd Space Operations Squadron commander. I have even been assigned to the Missile Defense Agency, which has a big presence on the base, though I was assigned to its headquarters in Washington, D.C. Needless to say, I am very familiar with the vital mission of the 50th Space Wing and the tenant units at Schriever and in many ways, coming back feels like I am coming home. I am looking forward to working with you to support our deployed warfighters.
As the 50 SW vice commander, my primary job is to directly support the wing commander in implementing his vision and goals for the wing and the base. I know that Col. Wayne Monteith, 50 SW commander, and I, and when the new wing commander arrives, Col. James Ross and I, will work well as a team to support the wing’s mission, improve the base and develop the wing’s most critical asset, its people. In only the few days that I have been at the wing, I am awed and humbled by the quality of people, their professionalism and the pride they exhibit. I look forward to working with the Schriever leadership team to continue to take care of the needs of all the people on the installation and continue to foster the great teamwork and mission focus I have seen to date.
I have to say that it has been amazing to see all the changes that have taken place on the base since I left in 2004. The base has changed from largely a commuter base to one with more than 240 families living in our new housing area. This has really changed the character of the base in a very positive way. At the same time it creates new risks so I encourage everyone to take care when they drive around the base to protect our families. They are our most precious resource. In addition, the 50th Operations Group is moving forward with the first phases of a new integrated operations environment for our communications satellites that will fundamentally change how we operate and defend these critical assets. In the 50th Network Operations Group, we are merging cyber and space with our first cyber officers in command at 22 SOPS and as the 21 SOPS Operations Officer as well as by upgrading the cyber security of our space networks. Our most dramatic changes can be seen by the sprouting up of new buildings and housing on the base which are cared for and defended by the Airmen of the 50th Mission Support Group.
One of the things I love most about Colorado and Colorado Springs is the natural beauty that surrounds us; from Pike’s Peak and the Rocky Mountains in the west to the Great Plains and the ability to see horizon to horizon in the east. There is a plethora of activities and adventures you can go on in the area that I encourage you to discover and enjoy.
I know many of you will be traveling or celebrating the upcoming holiday with backyard barbecues and fun with friends. Remember to be safe as you participate in these activities and let’s not forget why we are celebrating. We are celebrating our forefathers’ mutual pledge to each other of their lives, fortunes and sacred honor. This pledge is our legacy to uphold and has forged this country into the great nation it is today.
During the next few weeks I look forward to visiting with each of the groups and squadrons, as well as the staff agencies in the wing, to get an even better understanding of the base, its people and the marvelous work going on here! Again, thank you so much for making me feel welcomed, thank you all for your service in the defense of this great nation and I look forward to working with you to accomplish the critical mission of the 50th Space Wing and Team Schriever.