When President Donald Trump signed into law the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, the United State Space Force was born, and with it was a shift in identity for some Central Florida Air Force personnel.
Both Patrick Air Force Base between Satellite Beach and Cocoa Beach as well as Cape Canaveral Air Force Station are among the bases in the nation now designated part of the Space Force, the new sixth branch of the military. That includes the 45th Space Wing, based at Patrick AFB, that supports launches from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral AFS.
That could mean a name change to Patrick Space Force Base and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, but no changes will be immediate.
“Our nation will continue to call upon us to provide assured access to space and we will be here to answer that call,” reads a statement from the 45th Space Wing’s Twitter account. “As we did for the Air Force, we will be here standing proudly as the World’s Premier Gateway To Space in the United States Space Force.”
The airmen of the 45th are now among the 16,000 active-duty military and civilian members of the Space Force. They will remain for now dressed in Air Force uniforms with Air Force logos, but in the next 18 months, all of that could shift.
“As we progress through this exciting time, more guidance will come out regarding future actions but, for the foreseeable future, there are not expected to be any large changes to the way we operate here on the Space Coast,” the 45th said in a statement. “Our Wing will continue to do what we’ve excelled at for nearly 70 years: our mission of assured access to space for warfighters & our nation.”
Patrick and Canaveral join Vandenberg Air Force Base in Caifornia as well as Buckley AFB, Perterson AFB and Schriever AFB in Colorado as redesignated Space Force bases.
The U.S. Space Force for now is led by Air Force Gen. Jay Raymond, who is the head of Air Force Space Command and U.S. Space Command. IN time, a Space Force chief will be confirmed by the Senate.
© 2019 The Orlando Sentinel
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.