Remembering Gen. Morrell, veterans

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Sharks, as we approach the Veterans Day weekend it is important that we remember to say thank you to military veterans (active and retired) still with us and to salute the memory of those no longer here.
Tuesday, we had the distinct privilege of saluting the life and legacy of the legendary Air Force leader Maj. Gen. Jimmey R. Morrell by renaming our Range Operations Control Center the Morrell Operations Center. General Morrell was the first commander of the 45th Space Wing and is widely credited with being the visionary architect of many of the operational spacelift and range processes still used in Air Force Space Command today.
Although General Morrell retired from active duty in 1993 due to health concerns, he remained passionately involved in the space business. He was a prime contributor to numerous studies and participated on many review teams, where he lent his considerable knowledge and expertise over the years. In addition, he served as a valued friend and mentor to me and every 45th Space Wing commander who followed him.
In spite of everything he accomplished for our Nation and Air Force, I believe General Morrell's greatest accomplishment is his family. The dignity and grace of his wife Margie and their children Ryan, Kyle and Kelly show what kind of a man he was and where his priorities lay. They are rock solid in every way and are a direct reflection of his dedication to God, family and country. We are lucky and honored to have them as reminders of everything General Morrell stood for.
We initially planned to hold the renaming ceremony outdoors, but moved it inside due to the weather. As General Morrell's wife Margie said, having it indoors in the mission control room proved more appropriate because that is where General Morrell sat and led several launch teams in the early 90s. I cannot tell you how thrilled and proud I was to unveil the signage on front of the complex with Mrs. Morrell and her grandson Ty, designating it the Morrell Operations Center. Kudos to everyone involved in making this an unforgettable event.
As you celebrate Veterans Day over the three-day weekend, please make safety a priority and do not forget the service and sacrifice of veterans like General Morrell. Our veterans are the torchbearers of freedom. Veterans Day honors the heroism of those who fight today, while remembering those who served in the past. Please let all veterans you come across know how much they are appreciated and respected.
For those of you working the Delta IV/DSP launch through the holiday weekend, please know that I really appreciate it. When we launch this mission safely, it will be our fifth major successful launch in less than 50 days--a tribute to your tenacity and ingenuity as the world's premier space launch team. Go Sharks!