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Familiar Face Returning To VAFB As Top Officer

Maj. Gen. David J. Buck is assuming command of the 14th Air Force and Joint Functional Component Command for Space at Vandenberg AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Five years after he left Vandenberg Air Force Base and following several promotions, Maj. Gen. David J. Buck is returning to the Central Coast.

Buck has been selected as the next commander of the 14th Air Force and Joint Functional Component Command for Space. 

He will replace Lt. Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond during a change-of-command ceremony scheduled for 11 a.m. Aug. 14 at the base.

Presiding over the ceremony will be Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney, who leads U.S. Strategic Command, and Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, who leads Air Force Space Command.

Raymond is moving to a new assignment as deputy chief of staff for operations for the Air Force at the Pentagon.

Buck is currently serving as vice commander for Air Force Space Command Headquarters in Colorado. 

Before assuming his new job, Buck will pin on his third star during a ceremony earlier in the day when he will be promoted to the rank of lieutenant general.

Buck’s return comes five years after he completed a stint leading the 30th Space Wing, the primary unit at the base. He filled the job from June 2008 to April 2010 while holding the rank of colonel.

After earning his bachelor's degree from Kansas Newman University in Wichita, Kansas, he received his commission in 1986 as a distinguished graduate of Officer Training School.

Buck began his military career as a missile combat crew member in South Dakota, and spent his first two-year assignment at Vandenberg in the Top Hand Professional Development Program with the 576th Test Squadron.

Likewise, Raymond  has had previous assignments at Vandenberg before this current job. He also began his career as a missileer in North Dakota after receiving his commission through ROTC at Clemson University, South Carolina.

From October 1989 to August 1993, he served his first assignment at Vandenberg, with two separate jobs — operations center officer controller for the former 1st Strategic Aerospace Division, and executive officer for newly-revived 30th Space Wing. 

After holding other assignments including in Colorado, Washington, D.C., and England, he returned the Central Coast for another two years, serving as 30th Operations Group commander.

Those two years included temporary duty spending approximately four months as director of space forces in Southwest Asia.

He left again for jobs in Colorado, Japan and Nebraska before returning to Vandenberg in January 2014.

The job Raymond is leaving and Buck is filling is a dual-hatted position. 

JFCC Space, which falls under Strategic Command in Nebraska, is responsible for providing continuous space operations in support of national and combatant commander objectives. JFCC Space coordinates operational-level planning, integration, and coordination for satellite capabilities in support of military and national security operations, and to assist civil authorities.

The 14th Air Force, which reports to Air Force Space Command in Colorado, is responsible for day-to-day space forces to ensure they are ready to support operational plans and missions.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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