PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - According to Lt. Gen. Richard P. Formica, commanding general, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Force Strategic Command, commanders like to do three things when it comes to personnel actions.

One, they like to promote deserving Soldiers. Second, they like to reenlist those who want to stay and they want to keep. And third, they like to recognize deserving Soldiers for achievement or service. This last action was the subject on Formica's to-do list during an award and farewell ceremony on the afternoon of Dec. 17 at the command's operational headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base.

The recipient was departing Brig. Gen. Timothy R. Coffin, deputy commanding general for operations, SMDC/ARSTRAT. Before a packed crowd of Soldiers, government employees and VIPs in the training rooms of Building 3, as well as an audience via video teleconference from Huntsville, Ala., Coffin was presented the Legion of Merit for exceptional meritorious service as the command's deputy commanding general for operations from Feb. 17, 2011, to Dec. 14, 2012.

"I'm fortunate in the 22 months that (Brig. Gen.) Coffin has been with us that I have gotten to do two of those three," said Formica. "This is a great organization. It is a great command. And you do a lot to provide the operational space and missile defense capabilities to U.S. Strategic Command and the geographical commanders and to the U.S. Army. As the DCGO it was Tim's charter to oversee those operations for the command.

"He is currently the third senior space general officer -- soon to be second when (Brig. Gen.) Kurt Story retires," Formica said. "He is clearly the most experienced and the most expert."

Formica said that Coffin was the perfect choice to become the deputy commander for USSTRACOM's Joint Functional Component Command for Space at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

"For us -- just like when (Brig. Gen.) Story went there -- it means we will be sending to JFCC Space a general officer who is the deputy commander who knows not only what we provide, but he'll know what we have the potential to provide," Formica said. "And hopefully he will continue to push us and press us as the operational command that fights for our space systems that we do provide to USSTRACOM."

Coffin took this as an opportunity to thank the command's workforce.

"I appreciate the team work across all the areas of the command. Even though today we are just represented by the two major command centers of Huntsville and Colorado Springs, our people are scatter across the globe," Coffin said. "Under (Lt. Gen.) Formica, they learned how to work and operate as a single command. I appreciate all of you there at Huntsville who have taken the effort to understand the issues and situations here in Colorado Springs and other places accepting the hands of those reaching from here back to there. Thank you very much for being part of this ceremony.

"A command like this is really a collection of stories: a collection of life stories; a collection of work stories; and a collection of operational stories," Coffin said. "It brings a smile to my face as I look around the room and I see stories, some of which go back to the 1990s and before. Systems we thought of and dreamed that were built... that were launched into space... that were operated... and that have burned back into Earth's atmosphere. Those stories are all part of the history and chronology here.

"I had the fortune of being promoted here in this command. And the fact that I was promoted goes to the contributions of this command, because no one goes alone. No one does this alone as (Lt. Gen.) Formica mentioned when he pinned on this award," Coffin said. "This is really about the whole command, about the Soldiers, and the collective group of us making contributions. I'm very proud to be part of SMDC and the accomplishments this command is known for.

"As I go forward from here into a new command -- JFCC Space -- I come with credentials. The credentials of all you here in this room because they know I am coming from here and they know the excellence you have shown in your duties," Coffin said. "I'm already respected in the position because of your actions."