A new name will be unveiled at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday to reflect its role in the US Space Force.
The military installation near Lompoc, which spans nearly 100,000 acres, will officially become Vandenberg Space Force Base to reflect its role as the new armed forces branch of the Federal Department of Defense, joining the ‘US Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.
A ceremony with pomp and typical military circumstances will take place at the Vandenberg Parade Ground on Friday afternoon.
“Redefining Air Force installations as Space Force bases is critical to establishing a distinct Space Force culture and identity,” military officials said.
During the same ceremony, Vandenberg’s main unit, the 30th Space Wing, will become Space Launch Delta 30 with the unit’s flag being rolled up and encased in a blanket before a new front sight is revealed.
Names may change, but some faces will remain the same.
Col. Anthony Mastalir and Chief Master Sgt. Jason DeLucy will remain in their leadership roles, as Commander and Command Chief of Space Launch Delta 30.
Two key units, the 30th Operations Group and the 30th Mission Support Group, will be inactivated and transitioned from Operations and Mission Support Group Commanders to Vice Commander positions.
The unfurling of unit flags and their covering will serve as symbolic purposes for both units.
“This new organization allows squadron commanders to report directly to the commander of SLD 30, creating efficiency at all levels,” officials said.
The 30th Space Wing formed in November 1991 in a different reorganization that led to the end of the Western Space and Missile Center.
The US Space Force formed in December 2019 as the sixth branch of the military, essentially moving space units from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines to the new member of the armed forces.
At a recent congressional subcommittee hearing, Chief of Space Operations General John Raymond answered a frequently heard question regarding the existence of the Space Force.
He noted the growing number of nations operating in space, often against US interests, citing pressure from Russia and China to create weapons to interfere with US satellites.
“These threats include robust jamming of GPS and communications satellites; directed energy systems that can blind, disrupt or damage our satellites; anti-satellite weapons in space or from the ground designed to destroy US satellites; and cyber capabilities that can prevent us from accessing the domain,” Raymond said. “Fortunately, with the strong support of Congress, the United States seized the opportunity to make the changes necessary to stay ahead of this growing threat and created the United States Space Force. This leadership resonates with the scale and is already delivering benefits to our nation.
He said the nation is in a better position to meet modern space challenges.
“We specifically designed this strength for this area,” Raymond added. “We have reduced bureaucracy at all levels to enable our guardians to act quickly and increase accountability.”
Since December 2019, officials have unveiled the delta symbol, which some likened to a “Star Trek” logo. However, Space Force websites claim that the delta symbol debuted in 1961 and honors the legacy of the Air Force and Space Command.
The new branch of the army also acquired a motto: Semper supra, or “Always above” in Latin.
And instead of Airmen, Marines, Soldiers, or Sailors, leaders decreed that members of the Space Force would be nicknamed Guardians.
Vandenberg’s ceremony comes days after its East Coast counterpart, the 45th Space Wing in Florida, became Space Launch Delta 45.
A few months ago, Patrick Air Force Base in Florida was renamed Patrick Space Force Base while its sister site became Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
In addition to launching satellites aboard rockets, Vandenberg trains space crews, performs missile tests, and monitors orbiting objects in space. While the Space Force has become responsible for most missions, the Air Force will still have a role in various activities at Vandenberg.
This story was originally published May 14, 2021 2:13 p.m.