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Vol. 22, No. 4 • Mailed monthly to over 13,500 homes in the Gateway & Parkrose Communities Free • AUGUST 2006
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Parkrose grad takes over as commander of
45th Space Wing
Brig. General Susan Helms, right, accepts 45th Space Wing Guidon from Maj. General William Shelton, 14th Air Force commander, at the change of command ceremony held June 14 at Patrick Air Force Base/Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. 45th SW Command Chief Master Sgt. James Parkhill, middle, presides.

Special for the MID-COUNTY MEMO

Last month on a sizzling hot morning on the first day of summer, the 45th Space Wing welcomed its ninth commander in a ceremony held in Patrick Air Force Base’s Memorial Plaza. Brig. General Susan J. Helms accepted command of the men and women of the 45th SW from Brig. Gen. Mark H. Owen. The presiding official for the ceremony was 14th Air Force Commander, Maj. General William L. Shelton.

A number of dignitaries and invited guests were in attendance, including elected state and local officials, members from Patrick’s mission partners as well as members, employees, family and friends of the 45th SW. Helms — who grew up in an Air Force family, graduated from Parkrose High School and calls Portland, Ore., home — has 26 years of service in both the Air Force and NASA. Her father retired as an Air Force lieutenant colonel.

Brig. General Susan Helms addresses a crowd of nearly 100 people after accepting command of the 45th Space Wing. Helms was promoted from colonel the same day as change of command ceremony.
Submitted Photo
Helms is coming to lead the “Sharks” following her assignment as the deputy director of Operations for Technical Training Headquarters Air Education and Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. Her assignment prior to that was the vice commander of the 45th SW.

“I’ve been instantly impressed by both the renowned Shark hospitality and the keen Shark focus on mission success! It is obvious that this wing operates at a level of excellence that other commanders can only dream of. The men and women of the 45th Space Wing, as we like to say in the space business, truly have the ‘right stuff,’ “ she said.

“As the saying goes, we do live in interesting times, and many challenges lie ahead. The advances in space access technology have sparked new ideas at the national level on how we can do our business better, and we are also seeing the strong symptoms of a new creative energy in the commercial space lift arena. And yet resources are as tight as they’ve ever been, the operational risks must still be managed appropriately, and the humans in the workforce who make it all happen must still have what they need to maximize their effectiveness. It won’t be easy in the next few years, but I take heart in the fact that the 45th Space Wing could not be better poised at this moment to take on the challenges, alongside our partners, and succeed brilliantly,” Helms said.

As the 45th SW commander, Helms is responsible for the processing and launch of U.S. government and commercial satellites from Cape Canaveral AFS. She is the final approval authority for all launches on the Eastern Range, a 15-million-square-mile area that includes a network of radar, telemetry tracking, and telecommunication hardware operating at sites up the east coast and in the Atlantic Ocean, including detachments at Antigua Air Station and Ascension Island. The range supports an average of 20 launches per year aboard Delta and Atlas Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles, assuring access to space for America. Helms also manages wing launch and range infrastructure supporting space launch and missile test operations.

Parkrose grad takes over as commander of 45th Space Wing
WiPP whips up avante-garde art with skate team
Council passes auto dealer amendments for 122nd Ave.
Hazelwood HydroPark nears completion
Gateway Baptist throws party for retiring pastor
Parkrose party brings down the house... er barn
City regatta provides introduction to natural areas
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