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CSAF civic leaders visit SMC, Aerospace Corporation's STARS facility

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, El Segundo, Calif. -- Members of the Air Force Chief of Staff Civic Leader Program visited the Space and Missile Systems Center's Schriever Space Complex and neighboring Aerospace Corporation Tuesday afternoon to learn about the SMC mission and operations of Air Force Space Command.

Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, SMC commander and Air Force Program Executive Officer for Space, Tom Fitzgerald, SMC acting executive director and Col. Donna Turner, commander of the 61st Air Base Group hosted the Honorable Mike Gin, former mayor of Redondo Beach, Rhoda Weiss, a marketing consultant and Michael Jackson, chairman of the South Bay Association of Chambers of Commerce during their four-hour immersion. The visit included a brief stop in the SMC courtyard of the Schriever Space Complex to observe the Combined Federal Campaign kickoff event.

Gin and Weiss are members of the CSAF Civic Leader Program.

Air Force Civic Leaders serve as a civilian interface between the Air Force and the civilian community. In this role, they explain and interpret Air Force programs, positions, and problems to other key, local communicators through personal contact and correspondence, and to the general public through statements, appearances and speeches.

"It's always a pleasure and a privilege to tell the SMC story to our civic leaders," said Greaves. "We have active duty, reserves, civilians, federally-funded research and development center personnel, our sister services and liaisons from our coalition partners that are all part of this team effort. I know our civic leaders are floored when they see the 'Big Picture' here on such a small installation."

After viewing a 60th anniversary video and receiving mission overview briefings on SMC and the 61st ABG by Greaves and Turner, discussion turned to potential engagement between SBACC and SMC on an Air Force community partnership program that could lead to additional, affordable housing for single Airmen residing within the Redondo Beach area.

A "roof top" tour of the Schriever Space Complex and Los Angeles AFB followed before the group was escorted across El Segundo Blvd. to the neighboring STARS facility at The Aerospace Corporation.

Tom Warner, Aerospace Corporation director of external communications presented the CSAF civic leaders with an overview of the federally funded research and development center, with emphasis on space security and up-front capabilities of the Spacelift Telemetry Acquisition and Reporting System. Looking much like NASA's mission control center, the STARS facility is the center of action for launch operations supported by Aerospace.

During a typical launch, Aerospace analysts are on console in the STARS facility supporting SMC and AFSPC. The STARS facility processes the transmitted data which gives these analysts the ability to monitor the health of the vehicle and assist in anomaly resolution.

"The mission of Air Force Space Command, SMC and the Aerospace Corporation is a critical part of our nation's defense," said Weiss, one of the CSAF civic leaders. "I'm impressed by their roles in developing and acquiring space-based support for all of our service members. The hard work and ingenuity of these Airmen, civil servants and partners from throughout the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area and neighboring counties is something we should all be grateful for."

The CSAF Civic Leader Program's membership is composed of respected community leaders nominated by the Air Force major commands, the National Guard Bureau and Headquarters Air Force. These civic leaders are unpaid advisors, key communicators and advocates for Air Force issues. They provide ideas and feedback to advise the Secretary of the Air Force, Air Force Chief of Staff, and Air Force senior leaders about how missions can best be accomplished in their respective areas and about public attitudes toward the Air Force and Air Force activities in their areas.