From Airmen to Guardians: 6 Altus Airmen transfer into U.S. Space Force

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Amanda Lovelace
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Six Airmen from Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma have been accepted into the U.S. Space Force and will transfer to the new branch by the end of 2021.

On May 1, 2020, the USSF opened an application period, giving U.S. Air Force active duty members in eligible career fields the opportunity to transfer into the new service.

“After the Space Force was established in December of 2019, I knew they were going to call upon Airmen to make that transition,” said Lt. Col. Marshalria Vaughans, 97th Communications Squadron commander. “I didn't know what career fields I was eligible for in the beginning, but the applications came out and said, ‘If you want to cross over, you have to be in certain career fields.’ After receiving approval from my leadership, I raised my hand and said, ‘Yep, I'm ready. Beam me up, Scotty.’”

Those eligible to apply to transfer into the Space Force include commissioned officers and enlisted members in the space operations and space systems operations career fields.

Airmen from the intelligence, cyberspace operations, developmental engineer, acquisition manager, operations intelligence, geospatial intelligence, signals intelligence, fusion analyst, targeting analyst, cyberspace support, and client systems career fields were also eligible to transfer.

Senior Airman Colton Dotson, 97th Communications Squadron cyber transport systems journeyman, said the application process was simple, yet it still felt intimidating to him.

“It made me realize how real this is,” he said. “It's a paper that signifies, ‘I'm leaving the Air Force,’ which is crazy. I've been in for three years and it's all I've known.”

Dotson said the decision to leave the USAF behind took a lot of thought, but having the opportunity to grow and shape a military branch with more focus on space, cyber and intelligence specific career fields was a key driving factor.

Similarly, 1st Lt. Issac Chung, 97th Operations Support Squadron officer in charge of intelligence operations, decided to transfer after learning more about space operations.

“With seeing how integrated and busy the cyber and space domains already are, having a branch that is solely focusing on centralizing those operations and one that is solely dedicated to not only the tactical goal of protecting those interests right now, but also to prepare for future threats, is essential,” Chung said.

Although these members are leaving the Air Force, along with the three other selected, Tech. Sgt. Matthew Songe, 97th Training Squadron flight chief, Master Sgt. Gregory Durr, 97th Security Forces Squadron first sergeant, and 1st Lt. Christopher Clement, 97th CS officer in charge of client systems, the education they received will still be used for the betterment of the Department of Defense.

“I'm going to take all of the wisdom and training the Air Force has given me and give it to my next service,” Vaughans said. “A lot of the Guardians were Airmen, so we've come up with the same training, beliefs and principles we've learned in the Air Force. The future is now, and that's where space is. Go Guardians!”