By Rhonda Sheya, SFA Public Affairs
The Space Force Association (SFA) proudly announces its endorsement of the United States Code to authorize the Secretary of the Air Force to designate certain separated members of the Air Force as honorary separated members of the Space Force. The bipartisan bill was introduced by U.S. Congressmen Don Bacon (R-Nebraska), Salud Carbajal (D-California), Brian Babin (R-Texas), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), and Ted Lieu (D-CA).
“I’m proud to stand alongside my colleagues in acknowledging the contributions of our nation’s Air Force Space Operators who laid the foundation upon which our current Space Force is built,” said Rep Babin, House Space Force Caucus Co-Chair. “Their expertise and devotion to a country pushed us upward and outward, establishing and ensuring America’s military dominance in space. It’s a privilege to recognize these individuals as honorary members of the Space Force — our Legacy Guardians.”
Air Force Space Operations Veterans to be Recognized as Honorary Separated Members of the Space Force
This landmark legislation grants the Department of the Air Force the authority to recognize Air Force Space Operations veterans as honorary separated members of the Space Force, to be referred to as Legacy Guardians. The Space Force Legacy Guardian Recognition Act aligns with the language adopted into the National Defense Authorization Act without debate.
“For over a generation, thousands of men and women in uniform led the way in providing our nation with unparalleled global space capabilities, and their efforts laid the groundwork for our newest branch of the Armed Forces. Our Space Force is strong because of the success of these Legacy Guardians, and I am thankful to Reps. Carbajal, Babin, Lieu, and Lamborn for joining me in advancing this bipartisan legislation that recognizes the work and sacrifice of these members of our military,” said Rep. Bacon.
“This bill recognizes the efforts and groundwork laid by those who contributed to space missions before the establishment of the U.S. Space Force, giving them the recognition they deserve.”said Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)
Rep. Lieu remarked, “All those who have courageously served our country deserve to be recognized as the heroes they are. Since the Air Force Space Command was founded in 1982, thousands of men and women have answered the call to service in our military space operations. The Space Force Legacy Guardian Recognition Act would give the Air Force the authority to recognize Air Force Space Command veterans as honorary veterans of the Space Force, the newest branch of our Armed Forces. This designation would not only bring together our space operations veterans with those who currently serve in the Space Force. It would appropriately honor the dedicated veterans and culture of service of the Air Force Space Command. I am honored to join Representatives Babin, Bacon, Carbajal, and Lamborn in introducing this measure.”
The Space Force Association, an organization comprising both currently serving and veteran space operations professionals, has actively supported and provided input for the development of this bill. Their expertise and commitment to the advancement of space operations have been instrumental in crafting legislation that acknowledges the contributions and sacrifices of our esteemed space veterans. Bill Woolf, SFA President, and USAF Col. Ret. made this comment when asked about the bill and its sponsors, “The Space Force Association commends Congressmen Don Bacon, Salud Carbajal, Brian Babin, Doug Lamborn, and Ted Lieu for their bipartisan efforts in introducing this important piece of legislation. This bill is a testament to the unity and appreciation for the contributions of our space operations community, honoring their legacy and ensuring their enduring recognition.”
Key Provisions of the Space Force Legacy Guardian Recognition Act
Key provisions of the Space Force Legacy Guardian Recognition Act include:
1. Authorization for the Secretary of the Air Force to establish a process for former United States Air Force members to request USSF Legacy Guardian designation.
2. Authorization for the Secretary of the Air Force to determine effective dates, constructive service credit, and other eligibility criteria for the USSF Legacy Guardian designation award.
3. Authorization for the Secretary of the Air Force to establish a process for next of kin to apply for posthumous USSF Legacy Guardian designation.
4. Authorization for the Secretary of the Air Force to establish the manner in which an Air Force veteran can legally choose to self-identify in writing or by other means as a USSF Legacy Guardian.
5. Authorization for the Secretary of the Air Force to design and provide formal recognition of USSF Legacy Guardian status with a signed certificate, an approved device or insignia, or other forms of visible recognition.
It is important to note that designation as a USSF Legacy Guardian under this legislation does not entitle individuals to additional benefits beyond those listed above.
“Service members who diligently pioneered our nation’s capabilities in space should be able to earn the honors of the branch of our Armed Forces that they helped lay the groundwork for,” said Rep. Carbajal. “As the proud representative for Vandenburg Space Force Base, one of our nation’s capitals for space operations now and long before the creation of the Space Force, I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to ensure we can recognize and salute those who were Guardians before there were Guardians.”