Tuesday, September 01, 2009

AF general thanks Coast Guard for continuous shuttle support

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- The Air Forces Northern commander and overseer of the Joint Task Force-Space Transportation System visited the Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral, Fla., to express his thanks to the team for their continued support of the JTF-STS mission.

"NASA's mission is one of international importance, and your work to ensure the safety and security of the astronauts and ground crew does not go unnoticed," Maj. Gen. Hank Morrow, told the Coast Guard members during a recent visit to the unit supporting STS-128. STS-128 launched Aug. 28 from Cape Canaveral.

"This is truly a multiorganizational, joint effort, in which you play a starring role, and I wanted to express my thanks to you for your dedication and support," the general said.

Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral has been providing security to NASA since the shuttle's first launch in 1981, and has been on call for more than 500 space missions. During shuttle missions, the JTF-STS requests support from the Coast Guard to support launch operations by providing maritime security for NASA's and the Air Force's critical infrastructure and assisting with range safety.

The JTF-STS team's role is twofold: provide search and rescue capabilities for the astronauts and recovery of the orbiter in the event of a contingency; and support NASA if consequence management is required.

"It means a great deal to us to have General Morrow recognize our efforts in support of the shuttle mission," said Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer 3 James Dubea, the Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral commanding officer. "This is what we train to do on a daily basis, and we're proud to be a part of protecting this highly-visible national asset."