Mr. President, today I join my colleague Senator Tester in recognizing and paying tribute to MG Thomas F. Deppe, Vice Commander of Air Force Space Command, and his wife Eileen for their lifetime of service and unfaltering dedication to the U.S. Air Force and our great Nation.
As both an airman and leader, spanning 42 years of military service, General Deppe's contributions to our Nation's strategic deterrence and space missions were critical to the warfighter, global economy and safety of our families. General Deppe's leadership was an essential element in winning the Cold War and vital to Air Force Space Command's support of combat operations around the world to include Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, the global war on terrorism and overseas contingency operations.
General Deppe began his illustrious Air Force career by graduating from Basic Military Training School in 1967. In September of 1967, General Deppe was introduced to the Air Force through missile instrumentation electronics technical training. This training led to a series of aircraft munitions assignments and rounded out his enlisted service with an Air Force recruiting position, achieving the enlisted rank of technical sergeant. In 1977, General Deppe received his commission through the Officer Training School. This led him to his first assignment in Montana at Malmstrom Air Force Base. General Deppe's Air Force journey as an officer would take Eileen and him through a series of wing, air staff and joint assignments relating to strategic and tactical missile and space systems. He operated the ground-launched cruise missile in Europe and later served as the commander of the 351st Organizational Missile Maintenance Squadron in Missouri at Whiteman Air Force Base. Additionally, he commanded the 90th Logistics Group at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, WY, and the 341st Space Wing in Montana. While assigned to the National Military Command Center, he directed actions during the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Space Shuttle Columbia recovery effort.
Mr. President, General Deppe went on to command the Air Force's land-based strategic deterrent force at 20th Air Force in Wyoming before his present assignment as the Vice Commander of Air Force Space Command.
During General Deppe's tenure as Vice Commander, Air Force Space Command, he provided inspirational leadership to over 39,000 personnel responsible for a global network of satellite command and control, communications, missile warning, and space launch facilities and ensured the combat readiness of America's ICBM force. Exploiting his unique blend of operational experience and staffing acumen, General Deppe championed the implementation of a new management headquarters construct through Air Force Space Command's ``Lanes-In-The Road'' initiative. The results clearly aligned the command's headquarters organizations with its own functional concepts as well as the operational mission areas outlined in the U.S. Air Force Concept of Operations. In addition, he guaranteed the future viability of the Air Force Nuclear Enterprise by driving major system revitalization initiatives, to include the Air Force chief of staff-approved creation of an ICBM weapons instructor course at the U.S. Air Force Weapons School. He was instrumental in successfully implementing visionary space mission area initiatives with wide-ranging national and international implications, to include the launch and range enterprise transformation effort, the commercial and foreign entities support pilot program and the operational expansion of on-orbit global positioning system and wideband global satellite communications capabilities. Finally, General Deppe oversaw the command's lead role to stand-up the 24th Air Force to execute the Air Force's cyberspace mission.
General Deppe's impeccable service is characterized by his Master Missileer Badge, Command Space Badge, Space Professional Level III certification, operational space experience in nuclear operations and spacelift, weapon systems expertise in the Minuteman II, Minuteman III and Peacekeeper ICBMs, Hound Dog and Quail Air-Launched Cruise Missiles, the Ground-Launched Cruise Missile and the Atlas III, Titan IV, Delta II and Delta III boosters.
Today Senator Baucus and I have mentioned but a few of MG Thomas F. Deppe's many achievements. General Deppe is a visionary, steadfast military leader and honorable man. I know my colleagues join us in paying tribute to him and his wife Eileen and their children, Lisa, Tom and Ken, for the 42 years they have dedicated to our country and to the betterment of the U.S. Armed Forces. General Deppe, thank you for your service to our Nation, and we wish you well.
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