And the Answer Is — Guardians

And the Answer Is — Guardians

Since the U.S. Space Force was created a year ago, the question has been what the members of this new military service would be called.  The Army has soldiers, the Navy, sailors, the Marines are the Marines, and the Air Force has airmen. What about the Space Force?  Today, Vice President Pence revealed the answer — Guardians.

The U.S. Space Force will celebrate its first birthday on Sunday, December 20, the anniversary of the day President Trump signed the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law establishing it as a sixth military service and part of the Air Force.

Pence presided over a 1st birthday celebration at the White House this afternoon featuring Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett, and Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. John (Jay) Raymond.

Gen. John (Jay) Raymond (standing), Chief of Space Operations, speaks at the White House with Vice President Mike Pence (seated) nearby. December 18, 2020. Screengrab from White House Live.

Earlier in the day, Air Force Col. Mike Hopkins, a NASA astronaut currently aboard the International Space Station (ISS), officially transferred into the Space Force taking the oath of office in a virtual ceremony with Raymond and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.  He is now Space Force Col. Mike Hopkins, the Space Force’s first astronaut.

Gen. Jay Raymond (left), U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations, virtually swears in Air Force Col. Mike Hopkins, assigned as a NASA astronaut aboard the International Space Station, as a member of the U.S. Space Force, a voluntary transfer from the Air Force. Screengrab. December 18, 2020.

At the White House ceremony, Raymond thanked Trump, Pence and Congress for creating the Space Force.  In recent years, the idea of a Space Force, or Space Corps as it was initially called, originated in 2017 with the bipartisan duo of Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Jim Cooper (D-TN) who led the House Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee in the 115th Congress. At that time, the White House, DOD and the Air Force strongly opposed the idea, but President Trump became an advocate in early 2018 and directed the military to support it leading to its establishment in the FY2020 NDAA.

Raymond was commander of Air Force Space Command (AFSC) at the time and the moment the bill was signed into law AFSC became the U.S. Space Force and its 16,000 personnel were assigned to it.  They did not transfer into the Space Force, however, and for many months Raymond was the only member of the Space Force.  Then Chief Master Sergeant Roger Towberman joined him, then cadets from the Air Force Academy, and now Air Force personnel are requesting transfers to the Space Force.

Today, there are about 2,000 military members of the Space Force, Pence said, and there will be 6,000 “in a short period of time.”

But the question has been what to call them. Pence answered it today.

And so it is my honor, on behalf of the President of the United States, to announce that, henceforth, the men and women of the United States Space Force will be known as “Guardians.”  Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Guardians will be defending our nation for generations to come.

The Space Force tweeted some context as to how the name was chosen.

The choice evoked some good-natured ribbing in the Twitterverse with comparisons to the movie Guardians of the Galaxy


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