JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
The Space Operations Command leadership team, Lt. Gen. Stephen N. Whiting and Chief Master Sgt. Jacob Simmons, completed a three-day immersion with Guardians and Airmen at basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland June 20 - 22, 2023.
During the immersion, the command team toured training facilities, met with Guardians and recognized outstanding performers from the week’s graduating flights.
Whiting and Simmons both addressed the soon-to-be Guardians at the graduates’ patching ceremony, a tradition unique to the U.S. Space Force. During the ceremony, new Guardians don their first U.S. Space Force patch. However, the patch they receive isn’t new, but instead, one that was worn and donated by a current Guardian. The patch is accompanied by a handwritten note welcoming them into the branch, embodying the service’s core value of connection.
“With this patch, you are forever linked to a long line of courageous individuals who have dedicated themselves to the protection and defense of the space domain,” Whiting said in his address to the graduates. “Welcome to the Space Force family — an interstellar brotherhood and sisterhood that supports one another in times of triumph and in times of adversity.”
Following Whiting’s remarks, Simmons emphasized to the graduates the importance of the role they would play in the U.S. Space Force and wider national security landscape.
“You have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve as one of the nation’s space warfighters,” said Simmons. “You are the embodiment of our collective desire to reach for the stars, to understand the mysteries of the universe and to ensure a peaceful and prosperous future for generations to come.”
To culminate the team’s visit, Whiting served as the guest speaker and reviewing official for the week’s combined U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force graduation on June 22, 2023.
“As Airmen and Guardians, you are the defenders of our skies, the protectors of our freedom to maneuver in, to and from space, and the embodiment of our nation's values,” said Whiting. “You stand on the shoulders of giants, and it is now your turn to carry the torch of integrity, service, and excellence, and character, connection, commitment and courage to become the giants upon whose shoulders future generations of Airmen and Guardians will stand.”
The week’s graduating flight of Guardians included members from all three U.S. Space Force enlisted specialties: space systems operators, intelligence analysts, and cyber operators.