General Lance W. Lord, Commander, Air Force Space Command, Beccy Lord and Chief Master Sgt. Ronald Kriete, command chief master sergeant, AFSPC, visited Malmstrom Jan. 20 to 21
MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont.—General Lance W. Lord, Commander, Air Force Space Command, takes an opportunity to visit with Airman Jocelyn Matas, and other 741st Missile Security Forces Squadron members, at Missile Alert Facility A-01 Jan. 20. BELOW: Chief Master Sgt. Ronald Kriete, command chief master sergeant, Air Force Space Command, Beccy Lord, Col. Everett Thomas, 341st Space Wing commander, and General Lance W. Lord, Commander, AFSPC, arrive at the A-01 helo pad Jan. 20 to tour the facilities. (Photos by Staff Sgt. Andeelyn Fifrick)
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MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont.—Gates serve two purposes...to allow people to enter and to allow people to leave. Malmstrom opened its gates to Air Force Space Command’s top leader before he closes the gate on his Air Force career.
General Lance W. Lord, Commander, Air Force Space Command, Beccy Lord and Chief Master Sgt. Ronald Kriete, command chief master sergeant, AFSPC, visited Malmstrom Jan. 20 to 21.
During their visit to Malmstrom, the general, Mrs. Lord and the chief met with community organizations such as the Committee of 80 and the Military Affairs Committee, as well as meeting with the men and women who make up ‘Wing One.’
“I first met the Committee of 80 folks when I was the 10th Strategic Missile Squadron commander and then the deputy commander of the 341st Combat Support Group,” General Lord said. “They support their country and the Air Force, and I want to make sure they understand how important they are to Malmstrom and our people. It all feeds back into quality of life for our Airmen. Their support of our mission is legendary in the business.”
The general was previously assigned to Malmstrom from July 1983 to June 1985. Several assignments later, in April 2002, the general took command of the most powerful space and missile force in the world.
“The command is in the best shape it’s ever been in – not because I’ve been the leader, but because the men and women who make up this command continue to step up to do today’s mission and are excited about the future of space and missiles,” General Lord said.
“Almost four years ago now, we set some goals for the future,” General Lord said. “One of which was to become a full-spectrum space combat command that would be the experts in the space and ICBM business. Our people have proven they’ve done that. All the people of Malmstrom have helped make that happen and as a result, have set us up for some great success in the future.”
The 341st Space Wing enjoyed this type of success in 2005 by achieving a 99.792-percent alert rate, the highest alert rate the wing has had in the past 10 years.
“The high alert rate is an indicator of a few things,” General Lord said. “One, it shows the commitment of the men and women at Malmstrom to doing their mission. The other thing is it shows the commitment of our country to modernize the ICBM business. Programs such as guidance and propulsion replacement show the Nation really thinks the mission we do here at Malmstrom is as critical as it always has been and should continue to be invested in.” Over the past 10 years, more than $8 billion has been spent on modernizing the ICBM fleet.
“The combination of our people doing the mission well, and the modernization dollars being put back into the program, show that we’ve earned the right to brag about the alert rate and that we’re up to this mission. That combination is unbeatable,” he said.
“Wing Wonderful is, in fact, living up to its name,” General Lord said.
Although General Lord leaves AFSPC after his retirement scheduled for early April, the mission will continue.
“I think the Nation is committed to the fundamental nature of the ballistic missile business as a part of our nuclear deterrence,” General Lord said. “An analysis was recently completed to determine what would be needed to sustain the ICBM force past the 2020 timeframe. We want to figure out the best way to modernize the system so it can continue in the future with a lighter personnel burden.”
As for the future of the ICBM program, “I suspect the business will be different. I don’t know in exactly what fashion those changes will come, but one thing is for certain, the enthusiasm I see here at Malmstrom is going to be what it takes to sustain, secure and operate this system in the future.”
“I’ve been doing this for 37 years and things have changed quite a bit. The one thing that has not changed, is the peoples’ intense commitment to the mission,” General Lord said.
The most recent version of the Air Force mission statement reads, “The mission of the United States Air Force is to deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests – to fly and fight in Air, Space, and Cyberspace.”
“I think the new mission statement really speaks of the future,” General Lord said. “This is the third mission statement I’ve seen since I’ve been in the Air Force. This statement in particular speaks of the powerful part air, space and cyberspace play in the future. What they do for us is eliminate the worry about the tyranny of distance or time urgency. Air, space and cyberspace are ideally suited to work distance and timing problems. This mission statement speaks to an exciting future for our Air Force.”
While mission statements and visions provide the framework in which the Air Force operates, it’s the people that make it all worthwhile.
“We have great hardware in Air Force Space Command, but it’s the software – the people – I’ll miss the most,” the general said. “Someone recently said to me that in retirement you can do what you want, but I’ve been doing what I want for 37 years. I’ve had a great time and have met so many wonderful people. It’s a great mission to be a part of.”
“I would like people to remember that we did our best to not only do the mission, but that we changed things in a positive way to help shape and invent the future,” General Lord said. “I think we’ve done that. I’ve always operated believing that the best way to predict the future is to invent it. I’ve tried to shape and invent the command’s future. I hope people will think that AFSPC did a good job while I was there.”
“I look forward to spending time with Beccy,” General Lord said. “Beccy has been with me the whole ride. Together we have 74 years of service. My retirement will give us a chance to spend more time together and will give me an opportunity to do some more things in the community that because of the demands of my job I was not able to do. I’m going to keep working. I think I have a lot to offer.” The men and women of AFSPC can vouch for that.