On Friday, defense leaders presented the official flag of the newly formed sixth branch of the military service, the United States Space Force, in a brief ceremony in the Oval Office. This flag will hang alongside those of the military services in the White House.
“I just want to congratulate everybody and thank everybody,” said President DonaldTrump. “Space is going to be … the future, both in terms of defense and offense in so many other things.”
In photos that were tweeted out by a Reuters News Agency photographer, President Trump could be seen smiling as the Space Force‘s senior enlisted leader, Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman, held the service’s flag, the first new military flag to be unveiled in 72 years.
“The U.S. Space Force is proud to present the official flag to the President of the United States, to our space professionals across the globe, and to the American public, thus establishing another piece of our culture,” said Lynn Kirby, the Space Force spokesperson.
The dark blue flag features the seal of the Space Force including the Delta Wing – a symbol used by various Air Force space-based units to signify change and innovation but not reportedly borrowed from TV’s Star Trek. Early Air Force space organizations had used the delta symbol in emblems predating the science fiction series.
The flag was produced by the artists and craftspeople at the Defense Logistics Agency flag room in Philadelphia from a design that was finalized and documented by the Department’s Institute of Heraldry at Fort Belvoir, VA. The official flag of the Space Force is derived from key and central elements of the seal of the United States Space Force.
The dark blue flag was meant to be a nod to the 24/7 nature of the Space Force’s work, the Associate Press suggested, while the seal’s globe could be seen to denote the home turf of the Space Force fighters – members of the Space Force still don’t have an official designation but it is unlikely they’ll be called “Spacemen” to keep in line with the Air Force’s Airmen. The elliptical orbit around the globe could be seen to signify the Space Force’s mission to defend and protect the nation from adversaries and other threats that could originate in space.
According to reports from Stars & Stripes, Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, commander of the U.S. Space Command, also told President Trump that the prominent star design at the top of the seal represents the North Star, which “signifies our core value, our guiding light.”
Raymond had thanked the President for his support of the 16,000 space professionals assigned to the Space Force and added, “We’re proud of this flag. We’re proud to have an opportunity to present it to you here for display in the White House.”
The United States Space Force was officially established last December. It is the first new military service branch since the United States Air Force was established in 1947. President Trump has said that this newest service is critical to the future of American defense.
“The United States has been a space faring nation for decades,” said Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper during the Oval House presentation. Esper has been a supporter of the creation of the new force, which he said was necessary because America’s adversaries have “weaponized” space, Esper added, “The United States is now doing what it needs to do to protect our assets in space and ensure that space remains the heavens by which we not only protect America, but we sustain our economy, we sustain our commercial capabilities, we sustain American way of life.”