Public Affairs Office bids farewell to High Plains Warrior: AFSO21 initiative creates culture of change at Malmstrom; news now at

  • Published
  • By Valerie Mullett
  • 341st Space Wing Public Affairs Office
We didn't plan anything special. We didn't send out any invitations. And there won't be a party in its honor. 

But today we say goodbye to a friend of nearly 50 years - our base newspaper.
This is the last issue of the High Plains Warrior, but not the last you'll see of a "base newspaper." 

There are a lot of people who have expressed disappointment to me that the Warrior is going away. It is, but it isn't. 

Mr. Jim Strauss, the president of the Great Falls Tribune, is determined to provide Malmstrom and all the Warrior readership with a product they will be satisfied with in place of the Warrior. It will have a new name - the Front Range Guardian, a slightly different look and include a few things readers aren't used to seeing - mainly news and features about our sister service at the Montana Air National Guard. 

It will continue to be delivered to the same locations the Warrior is being delivered now, as well as to each base housing unit at Malmstrom. 

I have been involved with military newspaper production since the late 1980s, starting here at Malmstrom and then moving on to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, before returning to Malmstrom in 2002. I have seen the production process evolve from the days of pica poles, paste up and "whiz wheels," to the digital and technological product it is today. It's been a time of change throughout. And it continues to be a time of change. One that is forcing us to rethink the way we do business and support Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century - the train that is driving this conversion. 

The guidance to convert came from the Pentagon in January and we've been planning the transition since April. We have reached the hand-off point today. 

So what will the newspaper staff be doing instead? 

The same things they have always done, just more often. 

We will continue to cover the news, write features and take photographs. But rather than being limited to events that happen outside the production cycle of the High Plains Warrior, we will be available any day of the week a significant or important event takes place. The laborious task of planning the newspaper, copy editing it and laying out the pages will no longer be involved in our weekly schedules - which, by the way, took two people an average of two and a half days to accomplish, sometimes more. We'll be able to come back to the office, write that story and ideally have it posted on the Web site by the next day. That is the goal ... it may take a little time for us all to get adjusted, but I am confident it will happen. 

No one really likes to see change because it typically involves more work. From someone who holds the base newspaper near and dear to her heart, who's put a lot of long days, late nights, weekends and more into ensuring there was one on the streets each week for nearly 15 of my 21 civil service years, I am embracing this change. 

I can only ask all the rest of you to embrace it along with me, and be supportive of both our new way of covering the news on base, as well as the Tribune's efforts to provide you with a newspaper.