JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- History was made here Dec. 10 as the first seven people to enlist directly into the U.S. Space Force graduated from Basic Military Training.
The five men and two women were among the 414 recruits who completed seven and a half weeks of training. Assigned to the 320th Training Squadron, their training began Oct. 20. The new Space Professionals are: Amy Biggers, Virginia Beach, Virginia; Giahna Brown, Woodbridge, Virginia; Delvano Brown, Gaithersburg, Maryland; Benjamin Nevoraski, Virginia Beach, Virginia; Shane Brown and Elijah Engelby, Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Nathan Ramage, Falcon, Colorado.
Secretary of the Air Force Barbara M. Barrett was the featured speaker at the graduation ceremony, which was streamed live on Facebook. She spoke to the graduates about joining a heritage of integrity, service and excellence, and mentioned three Airmen who represent those ideals. One of those Airmen was retired Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, who flew more than 30 different types of U.S. aircraft as an Air Force test pilot and then served 12 years as an astronaut.
“General Helms was the first U.S. military woman in space. She still holds the world record for the longest spacewalk – eight hours and 56 minutes,” Barrett said. She added that Helms, in particular, represents the caliber of talent the Space Force is recruiting.
“So, it is fitting that we celebrate the historic milestone of graduating the first seven trainees to the United States Space Force!” Barrett said.
The number of Space Force trainees will continue to increase over time as processes for recruiting and training are solidified, and the Space Force plans to recruit a little more than 300 enlisted members through the end of the fiscal year. There are currently another 13 trainees at BMT with seven more scheduled to arrive later this month.
Through January, all Space Force accessions will become Space Systems Operations specialists and in February, new accessions will join for positions in additional career fields such as operations intelligence and cyber systems operations.
Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond spoke to the graduates before administering the Oath of Enlistment. He said that while every Basic Military Training graduation ceremony was important, the one on Dec. 10 was historic as it was the first to send seven “of our nation’s finest directly into the new United States Space Force.”
Raymond challenged the seven Space Force Professionals.
“I need you to be bold. You will help us build this service from the ground up. You will help us define our warfighting culture. You will build the Space Force as the first digital service. You will lay the foundation of a service that is innovative and can go fast in order to stay ahead of a significant and growing threat, and you, if deterrence fails, will fight and win the battle for space superiority which is so vital to our nation, our allies and our joint and coalition forces,” he said, adding that “the nation expects you to deliver dominant Spacepower.”
“The Air Force develops the best enlisted force in history, and we proudly and confidently secure our efforts on that foundation,” said Chief Master Sgt. Roger A. Towberman, Senior Enlisted Advisor, U.S. Space Force. “We are proud our trainees know they’re part of the Space Force from day one, and we added a bit of Space flavor to the curriculum toward that end. Over the next year, we’ll continue to improve their experience based on their feedback and in partnership with [Air Education and training Command].”
Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, commander, Air Education and Training Command, and Chief Master Sgt. Erik Thompson, command chief of AETC, were also at the ceremony.
“Today’s graduation represents the great partnership we have forged while supporting the United States Space Force, and our commitment to recruit, train and educate exceptional Space Professionals,” Webb said. “The cadre and staff at Basic Military Training are producing Space Professionals who have the foundational competencies to succeed in any environment, and who can adapt, decide and act at the speed needed today and for tomorrow’s challenges.”
“These graduates from basic military training will take the foundational concepts laid here in The First Command and will use them to help build a bold and agile Space Force, which will ensure our nations long‐term competitive advantage in space,” Thompson said.
The seven Space Force Professionals will attend Space Systems Operations technical training at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Once that training is complete, they’ll perform a wide range of duties from detecting ballistic missiles and tracking satellites to assisting in rocket launches and space flight operations.