VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE -- “When I became the commander of the 30th Space Wing, I realized that we needed to fundamentally change how we do business when it came to launches,” said Col. Michael S. Hough, 30th Space Wing commander. “We needed to be quicker and more attentive to launch providers in order to help them be successful with the goal of being more agile and lethal as a military and nation.”
Prior to the 30th Space Wing change of command ceremony on July 12, Hough reflected on the past two years.
Serving as the base commander since July 2017, Hough oversaw countless changes and improvements across the installation. With the help of more than 2,500 people throughout 15 squadrons that he commanded, 25 space assets were launched from Vandenberg AFB, accomplishing the 30th Space Wing mission as well as contributing towards the nation’s space superiority.
“The 30th Space Wing has an important mission, as we enable space superiority by putting assets into orbit,” said Hough. “With the Air Force’s motto of Fly-Fight-Win, we [members of Vandenberg AFB] certainly have a large part in the winning aspect of it when it comes to sustaining the assets that we have in space.”
Vandenberg AFB achieved a lot of firsts during Hough’s time here. Some of which include the first interplanetary mission to Mars, the last Delta II mission, the dual-range launch for the ground base inceptors and the first booster land-landing at Vandenberg AFB. Throughout his time, Hough encouraged members of Vandenberg AFB to innovate their processes due to an increased tempo, making way for future launches.
However, it wasn’t all business during Hough’s time because if there is one thing that truly means something to him, it is the Airmen. While every commander has a set of priorities, Hough’s No. 1 is to care for our Airmen.
According to Hough, some of his favorite moments as the installation commander were when he visited squadrons to meet with and learn about the Airmen that contribute to the success of the 30th Space Wing. From pulling cables with 30th Communication Squadron Airmen, to standing at the gate or patrolling with the 30th Security Forces Squadron defenders and embedding with the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighters, he got to see firsthand what his Airmen do each and every day.
“I wasn’t able to do it often but anytime I was able to go out and have some dedicated time with the Airmen it was precious to me and I really got a lot out of just spending time with them and learning what they do,” Hough said.
As Hough’s time at Vandenberg comes to an end and he departs to become the Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps commander for the University of Virginia, he appreciates all the backing he received from his fellow commanders, the subordinates, members who contribute towards the mission, as well as the local community, as their support is indispensable towards the base’s mission.
“We have a very supportive community here, and I can’t say enough of how good they’ve been to me and Vandenberg Air Force Base,” said Hough. “We could not do what we do here on this base without their support.”
Although Hough is leaving, his hope for everyone at the 30th Space Wing is to continue his No. 1 priority by caring for one another.
“You don’t have to be a commander or a supervisor to care for one another, because all you need to be is a wingman,” said Hough. “If you care for your Airmen no matter what the rank is on your uniform, then everything we want to achieve within our mission and vision will happen.”