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Local documents Air Force in space
AF anniv 2
Vandenberg Air Force Base airmen man the Western Range Operations Control Center where rocket launches are controlled and observed. - photo by Photo by Christian Thomas
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - It was 50 years ago this year when rocket scientists and airmen gathered at this rugged, coastal base with nothing more than chalkboard theory, and test fired a missile capable of dropping a nuclear bomb thousands of miles away.
The successful test put the Soviets on notice and spawned an Air Force space program.
Air Force Master Sgt. Sebastiano Marino, son of Peggy A. Jones of Hinesville, is a member of a now modern space program here and stands in the tradition of those who developed this science a half-century ago.  Launching rockets equipped with high-tech satellites into outer space or launching nearly pin-point accurate intercontinental ballistic test missiles thousands of miles away into the South Pacific are routine here for the airmen affiliated with the 30th Space Wing and for Marino.
Marino contributes to Vandenberg's space missions as a section chief, motion media.
"We support public affairs here in providing motion imagery of many different activities on base, such as rocket blast offs, to create news stories for Air Force airmen. My section is the biggest video section in the Air Force.  We document all aspects of operations here.
"As a leader, I also ensure my personnel are prepared for deployments to locations worldwide," Marino said.
Airmen here such as Marino support space missions for the Department of Defense, along with cooperative support to private companies and other U.S. governmental agencies. As illustrated in March with the first successful West-coast launch of an Atlas V rocket, the biggest and most powerful rocket launched from Vandenberg, these airmen understand the importance of their space mission.
"Space is a realm the Air Force is responsible for. Our responsibilities are air, space and cyberspace. My job is to ensure my folks are there to document launches," Marino said.
Being a part of space missions that hold international interest can be exhilarating for even the most salty of scientists or airmen. Marino admits the space program here will leave a lasting impression on him.
"For me, being a part of space programs here is exciting. Knowing we support these rockets that put satellites into space is an incredible feeling. The thing I'll always remember is watching raw footage of a huge rocket and broadcasting it live on the air," Marino said.
He has served in the Air Force for more than 13 year. He served in Florida most of his career, but has also been deployed to the Middle East, to Qatar.

Tolzmann is a journalist for Army & Air Force Hometown News Service.
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