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Vandenberg Air Force Base (Images of America) Paperback – December 1, 2014

3.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.
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Product Details

  • Series: Images of America
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Arcadia Publishing (December 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1467132098
  • ISBN-13: 978-1467132091
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,094,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Timothy J. Lombardi on April 19, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Serving as an NCO at Vandenberg AFB one of my troops purchased this book to discover more about the base they are trained at. As I asked him for a review he stated that he greatly enjoyed not just reading, but seeing the history of this base through the eyes of a camera lens. This book does its best to not tell you what happened, but show you what happened. The days are gone when a grandparent or parent sits down with their grandchildren to flip through their photo album, and that is exactly what you have.

"Steve" an employee from the base who had the book with him on a lunch break was asked what he thought of it. "I greatly enjoy it! It is very eye opening to what all took place here. I am really looking forward to getting out to the heritage center to see it for myself."

I believe Mr. Page did a really great job with helping us remember that this arm of the Air Force is slowly slipping away from us. There is a huge amount of pilot stories. However, the space mission was not fought with bullets and dog fights, but rather men who saw beyond the current science of their day and went out to create the science of tomorrow. Mr. Page helped remind us that there are very few veterans and retired men and woman who built this technology still around to tell this story to us, and he did his best to bring it to us.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent review of Vandenberg. I worked at VAFB from 1967-1974 and found all the descriptions brought back memories of how it used to be when electronics were made of discrete components. It also reminded me that the satellite launches at VAFB were responsible for the first SALT arms limitation treaty and also for the second SALT treaty. It was these satellites that made possible the doctrine of "trust, but inspect" that have slowly eased international tensions. Now if we could just find a way to contain the idiots of the world who still think that possessing a nuclear weapon makes their nation "one of the big boys", the world would be a whole lot safer. I would definitely buy the book again and recommend it to anyone interested in the history of our missile program.
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Format: Paperback
I was extremely disappointed with Joe Page’s book, Vandenberg Air Force Base. What could have been an educational and interesting brief history of the base is instead a book burdened with numerous factual errors and occasional conflicting information, choppy writing, no source notes, a useless index, and a few poorly chosen topics and pictures. At other times the book proceeds with inexcusable omissions of important information thus corrupting the history of the base and the neighboring community. It all adds up to a book that lacks credibility.

During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Vandenberg lost two of its own, Commander Dwayne G. Wolfe in 2009, and Airman Daniel Johnson a year later. The community newspapers provided extensive coverage about their deaths and later reported on the Vandenberg team honoring both men in separate public ceremonies at the base by naming the new Fitness Center after Commander Wolfe, and constructing a large concrete memorial nearby to Airman Johnson. Page mentions the memorial to Airman Johnson, but completely overlooks Commander Wolfe. He is not mentioned anywhere in the book. The omission is a disgraceful insult to the memory of an honorable man who made the ultimate sacrifice. Shame on you Mr. Page.

Another vital omission from the book is the history of the U.S. Navy at the area formerly known as south Camp Cooke. Between 1958 and 1965, the U.S. Navy operated the Point Arguello Missile Facility from this location and managed the launch range used by the Air Force, which Page incorrectly calls the Western Test Range. During that time it was known as the Pacific Missile Rage.
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I have really enjoyed this book! I recently spent about four months on VAFB as part of a NASA launch campaign, and had ample down time to explore the base. Traveling by motorcycle, I think my friends and I got to pretty much every corner of the place, often stumbling across ruins of old facilities way way way off the beaten path. It's been great to peruse this book to see them all in their former glory and learn all the backstories. This is a very well researched, well written history with endless great photos. Thanks!
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Save your money......this is a very poorly researched book with virtually no mention of the Titan I and Titan II squadrons. I served in the 395th Strategic Missile Squadron from 8/67 through 10/68. The book is mostly a collection of newspaper clippings and AF PR handouts. Wish I could give it a "no star" rating.
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