Santa Barbara- S County

VAFB Military Town Brings in Business

VAFB Military Town Brings in Business

VANDENBERG AIRFORCE BASE, Calif.- - The military town with its role of rocket and missile launches brings in a lot of business into the local economy.

Located on nearly 100,000 acres outside of Lompoc, Vandenberg's impact on the economy is visible.

Lompoc resident Augustine Lopez said, "A lot of people from Santa Barbara and up north come up to see the launch."

Lopez has lived in Lompoc for ten years and said he's seen plenty of launches.

Lopez said, "It's pretty exciting you get to go out there and watch the missile go off."

It also was exciting for Mary Monett, an Air Force veteran who had the chance to get up close and watch the launch.

Monett said, "It's better to practice and not have to use it then try to use it and have it not work."

A group of about six protestors stood on the sidewalk outside the base during Sunday's launch, saying they want the program shut down.

Protestor Dennis Apel,said "The program should be abolished."

The activist said he's been arrested more times then he can remember for protesting against the cause.  One of the arrests happened after he tossed a bottle of his own blood at the Vandenberg sign in 2003.

Some long -time Lompoc and Santa Barbara county residents said the small group of protestors is not a reflection on their community.

Rita Dyer has lived in Lompoc her entire life. Dyer said "A lot  of the airmen and their families like to live in  Lompoc."
They drive a lot of business into their town. According to the city of Lompoc, Vandenberg Air force Base brings in $1.7 billion into the county.

Dyer described a moment when she was working at a restaurant in Lompoc during a launch at the base. Dyer said "I don't remember what the launch was, but it was a really loud one and I remember the restaurant I was working at, at  the time was packed all day long."

The missile launch on Sunday was conducted by the 30th Space Wing, the Missile Defense Agency, and U.S. Northern Command.

Below is a press release from the Vandenberg Air force Base:

 A U.S. Missile Defense Agency flight test of a Ground-based Interceptor missile is scheduled for Sunday, June 22, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. PDT from Vandenberg Air Force Base, conducted by the 30th Space Wing, the Missile Defense Agency, and U.S. Northern Command.

Col. Brent McArthur, 30th Space Wing vice commander, is the
Launch Decision Authority.

"The 30th Space Wing has a long and proud history of working
diligently alongside our Missile Defense Agency partners to provide safe
launch operations for missile defense tests," said McArthur. "It's an honor
for the wing to work with the Missile Defense Agency and other mission
partners on this test mission which is extremely important to our national

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