By 2nd Lt. Kristen Shimkus | Air Force Space Command Public Affairs
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The leader of Air Force Space Command and the Joint Force Space Component Command spoke to members of the international space community, industry and media at the 35th Space Symposium Tuesday.
Throughout his speech, Gen. Jay Raymond honored past pioneers in space and military history, and highlighted the achievements of young AFSPC, JFSCC and international partner space operators who are the future of space.
“Today, what I would like to do is honor the past, present, and the future as I introduce our real competitive advantage,” Raymond said.
The general personally recognized Airmen and Joint/Coalition warfighters from throughout the command who have emulated the spirit of prominent space and military leaders such as U.S. Air Force Gen. Susan Helms, former Astronaut and 14th Air Force commander, and Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.
“The advances we have made collectively are remarkable and this is absolutely the most exciting time to be in the national security space enterprise,” said Raymond.
Over the last year, AFSPC has taken numerous steps to ensure the U.S. maintains freedom to operate in space. For example, AFSPC and the Air Force Weapons School have established an Enlisted Space Warfighter Advanced Instructor Course for space, said Raymond.
He introduced the Airmen who will make up the initial cadre of this new course.
“They all represent the finest enlisted operators that we have in the command, across all of our mission areas,” said Raymond. “Every single one of these Airmen chose to come to space as their first choice when they enlisted in the Air Force. These six Airmen are trailblazers and we’re glad you’re on our team.”
The command has also increased activity with coalition partners. This August, AFSPC will integrate coalition partners into the Space Flag exercise for the first time.
“Today we are working hard to not only develop joint warfighter partners, but also, as the Chief and Secretary highlighted, developing the international partnerships needed for coalition warfighting,” he said. “We are clearly stronger together.”
Raymond took a moment to thank Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson on behalf of everyone at AFSPC for her strong leadership, and for all that she has done for both the Air Force and the national security space enterprise.
Wilson announced last month that she will be resigning her position as Secretary of the Air Force effective May 31, 2019.
Raymond surprised the audience during his presentation with a live video feed from the International Space Station featuring NASA Astronaut and Air Force Colonel Nick Hague.
Hague said that his view of Earth during his first spacewalk drove home the lesson he learned throughout his Air Force career.
“It’s not about one individual, but collective accomplishments and we accomplish things together as a team. It took thousands of people to make those spacewalks go well…. It’s thanks to them… it’s thanks to the team that we accomplish great things,” said Hague.
Raymond concluded his conversation with Hague, “Thank you for your service. Thank you for representing our Air Force so well. Please pass along our regards to your crew members. We are proud of each and every one of you.”