One Small Step For...? US Undecided On What To Call Space Force Personnel

The latest addition to America’s military is still yet to decide how it should refer to its personnel.

There are soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines, amongst others – but what should the world call members of the US Space Force?

That is the question on the minds of the top brass overseeing the latest addition to the US military.

The new force is tasked with providing GPS across the entire military, monitoring the threat posed by and to thousands of satellites and remaining ahead of "potential adversaries".

Briefing reporters last week, Lieutenant General David Thompson, Vice Commander US Space Force, was clear on the threat posed by other nations in space.

"They're fielding weapon systems," he said.

"They have communicated the intent to take our use of space away from us in conflict."

The Space Force was first announced by US President Donald Trump in June 2018 as the sixth branch of America's armed forces, "separate but equal" to the US Air Force.

It was followed by an online campaign to find personnel who wanted to serve the military in space.

There are currently 16,000 personnel assigned to the US Space Force, including service members and US Department of Defense staff.

However, there is only one member of the force to have been transferred in so far - General John W. Raymond, who was sworn in as the first-ever Chief of Space Operations in January.

Spire Global Project 240919 CREDIT UK Space Agency_0.jpg
'Space Cadets' and 'Spacemen' are not on the shortlist of names for Space Force members (Picture: UK Space Agency).

Around 6,000 US Air Force personnel, coming from what was known as Air Force Space Command, are expected to initially transfer into the Space Force, with the total compliment of 16,000 being reached in the "near future".

Lt Gen Thompson said extra airman, soldiers and sailors will also be transferred into the Space Force in the future.

He added that "some serious time and energy" has been spent in finding the right name for those joining. 

Having consulted the Air Force Academy’s Defense Language Institute, the senior military figure was able to rule out one or two options.

"Not space cadets, not spacemen," said the Vice Commander of Space Force.

The labelling of the interstellar personnel has become an exercise in crowdsourcing, explained the lieutenant general.

The necessary benefit and pay systems are yet to be put in place for their arrival.

Before inviting reporters to help Space Force land on the right answer, he indicated that there are "a couple of really strong options" on the table.

"I think we’re pretty close," Lt Gen Thompson said.

Space Force will welcome government-employed civilians as well as uniformed members.

When a first glimpse of the Space Form uniform itself was released, questions were raised on social media - around the woodland camouflage pattern used for the design.

Further controversy arrived on the launch of the new logo, which many suggested took more than its fair share of inspiration from the Star Trek logo.

George Takei, who played Mr. Sulu in the original 'Star Trek' television series and films, responded on Twitter, posting: "There is nothing sacred any more."

President Trump said great military leaders, designers and others were involved in the production of the logo.

Before the appointed Space Force members have even been transferred, they have already been called into action.

Cover image: The new Space Force uniform (Picture: US Department of Defense).