Vandenberg Milestones – the year of Space Force

  • Published
  • By Michael Peterson
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs

Vandenberg Air Force Base recently commemorated the first birthday of the United States Space Force by sealing a time capsule filled with mementos marking the many milestones the USSF and Vandenberg AFB made in the year 2020.

The time capsule project was presented to members at Vandenberg AFB and community leaders by Col. Anthony Mastalir, 30th Space Wing commander, during a USSF birthday cake cutting ceremony on Dec. 11, 2020.

"Wow, how times have changed over the past year," said Dr. Scott Bailey, 30th SW historian, who opened the event by highlighting the “remarkable history, importance and resiliency” of Vandenberg AFB, its people and the community.

Following Bailey's brief overview of Vandenberg AFB’s history, Mastalir then addressed attendees with a recap of significant milestones and historical firsts achieved by USSF and Vandenberg AFB during its first year, including the following highlights:

  • DEC 2019 – President signed the 2020 National Defense Authorization to start USSF (Link)
  • DEC 2019 – 14th Air Force redesignated as Space Operations Command (Link)
  • JAN 2020 – Gen John Raymond sworn in as USSF Chief of Space Operations (Link)
  • FEB 2020 – VAFB 1st range support mission under USSF, a Minuteman III test launch (Link)
  • APR 2020 – 86 AF Academy graduates commission directly to USSF (Link)
  • JUL 2020 – USSF logo and motto unveiled (Link)
  • JUL 2020 – Space Deltas activated, including Vandenberg’s Space Delta 5 (Link)
  • JUL 2020 – Vandenberg AFB gains first USSF member (Link)
  • AUG 2020 – USSF CSO visits Vandenberg AFB during Minuteman III test launch (Link)
  • SEP 2020 – Induction of VAFB Space Operators into USSF (Link)
  • SEP 2020 – Space Delta 5 transfers to the USSF (Link)
  • SEP 2020 – Members of 533 TRS transfer into USSF STAR Delta provisional (Link)
  • OCT 2020 – Vandenberg welcomes first USSF Field Grade Officer inductees (Link)
  • OCT 2020 – U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., makes first visit to Vandenberg AFB (Link
  • NOV 2020 – VAFB supports SpaceX Sentinel-6 NASA satellite launch from Western Range (Link)
  • DEC 2020 – First cadre of direct enlistments to the USSF arrives at VAFB (Link)

He concluded his speech with an introduction of the first cadre of USSF enlistees and Basic Military Training graduates who arrived earlier in the day to begin their space training at Vandenberg AFB.

“These young men and women, for the very first time, directly enlisted knowing virtually nothing about what they were getting into, but took a leap of faith in all of you, the leadership of the Space Force that this was an organization they wanted to join,” said Mastalir. “As a brand new military branch, we can be the change agents. We can build a force that is the envy of our sister services – one that is inherently multidomain and data-driven, that promotes digital literacy at all levels. We have the opportunity to reduce duplication, slash bureaucracy, accelerate innovation, and increase efficiencies, all to train ready warfighters and deliver warfighting capabilities to our combatant commanders and the nation, and that is exactly what we will continue to do.”

Following the speech was the traditional cake-cutting ceremony with a slight twist. Instead of selecting the youngest and oldest service members to cut the cake, the USSF members with the shortest and longest time in service, spanning from one day to a few months, were chosen to participate.

Mastalir then commemorated the 2020 time capsule project, which also coincided with the USSF birthday celebration.

"We believe that it would be appropriate for us to put together a time capsule to mark this moment in our first birthday, so that 20 years from now in the year 2039, the leaders who replace us here, the service members in the Air Force and Space Force who work here on Vandenberg - Space? - Force Base will know and see a piece of history, of what we were dealing with and what we were facing 20 years ago, as we started to build these dreams," said Mastalir.