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Jan 31, 2014 8:56 PM by Victoria Johnson, KSBY News

Change of Command at Vandenberg Air Force Base

A new commander was promoted at a change of command ceremony at Vandenberg Air Force Base Friday morning.

"Our nation and our international partners rely on space capabilities in every single element of our culture and society. To be a human being today is to live a life where space is a part of daily existence," said Lt. Gen. Susan J. Helms, Former Commander, JFCC and 14th Air Force, Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Lieutenant General Susan J. Helms was the first U.S. military woman in space and has the world record for the longest spacewalk at 8 hours and 56 minutes. For the last three years, she has overseen Department of Defense space operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base and coordinated events including, "The re-entries of other nation's spacecraft with fuel on board that were considered a danger to the planet... rapid expansion of space cooperation across the world with allies and friends and also with commercial entities in the private sector," said General William L. Shelton, Commander, Air Force Space Command, Peterson Air Force Base.

General Helms relinquishes command through the passing of the flags, symbolizing the continuity of command and transfer of authority to General John W. Raymond.

"We must focus on flawlessly operating, commanding control and protecting and defending our space capabilities in order to preserve the strategic advantage they provide our nation, our allies and our joint force," said Lieutenant General John W. Raymond, Commander, JFCC and 14th Air Force, Vandenberg Air Force Base.

General Raymond will forge ahead with missile defense, space surveillance and space control for the nation. General Helms will retire in Colorado.

The next space launch at Vandenberg is scheduled for April 3. Launches will also take place almost every month until November of this year.



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