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A hearty 'Shark Pride' welcome to Gen. Shelton

PATRICK AFB, Fla. -- First off, let me welcome Gen. William Shelton, commander, Air Force Space Command, as he visits Team Patrick-Cape early next week.

Gen. Shelton is a leader who not only understands every aspect of what we do here; he shares his views often on the vitally important work we do for our nation.

I heard him do just that recently during the Air Force Association's Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition, held in Orlando.

"(Space) is a vital capability for the nation, for the joint force," he told the crowd. "We can't let them down, and we won't," he said.

The 45th Space Wing won't let down our nation or joint forces either. We're the best at what we do, and I look forward to you showing him that next week.

Switching gears, I want to congratulate 1st Lt. Danielle DePaolis, who was recognized last week by the Brevard County Society of Women Engineers as the 2013 "Distinguished New Woman Engineer of the Year."

We're proud of her and all the other female Airmen who competed with her.

As you may or may not know, International Women's Day is being celebrated March 8, and March is Women's History Month.

As a female in today's Air Force, I can't begin to make our younger Airman completely understand how very different the military culture is since I joined our team almost 26 years ago.

If you are a female in today's Air Force -- military or civilian employee or contractor -- you have opportunities today that many of those who went before us could only dream of.

I can't speak for Ms. Deborah Lee James, but my guess is that when she graduated from Duke University in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in comparative area studies, she had no idea she would someday become the 23rd Secretary of the Air Force.

I can, however, speak for a certain 45th Space Wing Officer, who graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1988 with a biology degree. She had no idea she would one day be the commanding officer of the greatest Space Wing in the world. Dreams do come true.

I know that first-hand.

So stay focused on your goals, Ladies and Gentlemen. You have no idea where attaining those goals may one day lead.

Stay focused Sharks!