From the Author
I consider the garrison at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico my hometown so I'm no stranger to rockets flying (and exploding!) overhead. My voracious interest in space history comes from my dad's experiences in the United States Air Force. After graduating from college, I joined the United States Air Force soon after, being assigned to various space and missile assignments, starting with my training at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Over the course of a decade, I've had many space-related jobs, such as intercontinental ballistic missile crew commander and space intelligence officer to name a few. Getting another opportunity to be stationed in California's Central Coast in 2013, I "joined forces" with the Vandenberg Space and Missile Heritage Center at Space Launch Complex Ten (SLC-10) during the research of this book. The museum director, Mr. Jay Prichard, was invaluable in providing research materials and the "color" that brings these stories to life. For this, I owe him big-time. Compiling field research for Vandenberg Air Force Base took me into the debris field of an exploded Titan I missile silo, through the bullet-laden sand dunes of Purisima Point, and along the chilling stretch of Point Pednerales where maritime ghosts of wrecked ships still reside. The last "fact" was the spookiest part of the research - stories of the Sun Bonnet Girls watching their kinsmen raid ships that ran aground near Point Pednerales (near Honda Canyon Creek) sounded like fiction... or stories you'd hear from medieval times. I hope that this book will serve as a much-needed historic pictorial record about Vandenberg's people and places throughout the decades, allowing readers to experience the wonder and amazement of this unique location. Finally...I have met quite a few people who have been to Vandenberg Air Force Base, either visiting or stationed here, that did not know about the critical role Vandenberg played during the Cold War. Additionally, not many knew of the base's Space and Missile Heritage Center, which chronicles the historic exploits of Vandenberg's "steely-eyed" missile men and women over the course of the last five and a half decades. My desire is to capture these stories in a photographic format to pass along to our children, so we can say "I was there, I worked on that..." The base's mission spreads over ninety-nine thousand acres and literally from the ocean floor to outer space - this book only covers the tip of the iceberg that is Vandenberg Air Force Base. I want this book to be the start of a generational conversation: grandchild-to-grandparent, sibling-to-sibling, daughter-to-mother, son-to-father... "Tell me what you did at Vandenberg..."
About the Author
Maj. Joseph T. Page II is an active duty Air Force officer stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The photographs detailing the work and personnel of Vandenberg throughout the decades were graciously provided by the SLC-10 Space and Missile Heritage Center, the 30th Space Wing Public Affairs Office, the Lompoc Historical Society, and private collections.