VANDENBERG AFB, Calif. - The Change of Command Ceremony at Vandenberg AFB is steeped in Air Force tradition.
Retired and active duty officers and airmen join invited civilian base employees and guests to witness the ceremony inside one of the massive hangars on base.
"I'm so proud to be on your team", incoming VAFB commander Lt. Gen. John W. "Jay" Raymond told those in attendance, "you are world class and that's an understatement because there's no other organization in the world that can even dream about what you do each and every day and you make it look easy when we no that its not."
Raymond has previously served in various roles at Vandenberg Air Force Base over the course of his Air Force career dating back to 1989.
"We must focus on flawlessly operating, commanding and controlling, protecting and defending our space capabilities in order to serve the strategic advantage they provide our nation, our allies and our joint force and to do so at a time of reduced resources", Raymond said.
Lt. Gen. Raymond takes over command from Lt. Gen. Susan Helms who is retiring after 33 years in the Air Force.
Helms became the first U.S. military woman in space as an astronaut on the Space Shuttle "Endeavor" and flew on four space shuttle missions.