HONOLULU (KHON2) — Six Air Force officers on Maui have been transferred to the U.S. Space Force, making them one of the first Space Force Guardians in Hawaii.
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The officers assigned to the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing site joined more than 2,400 Airmen across the nation to be transferred to the U.S. Space Force.
The Space Force is a new branch under the Department of Defense with a mission “to protect U.S. and allied interests in space, and provide game-changing space capabilities to its forces,” according to the news release on Monday.
“As a new member of the Space Force, your mission here does not change,” Lt. Col. John Zingarelli, Commander, Air Force Research Laboratory Detachment 15, said in last week’s ceremony. “You will continue to lead the discovery and development of critical space technologies for our nation.”
The ceremony was held on Feb. 1 at AFRL’s Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing site on Maui where the site conducts its telescope operations.
Although Detachment 15 is a small unit, the work accomplished on Haleakala Summit is critical to U.S. space domain awareness, and to providing a strategic advantage in space, the news release said.
“As a native Hawaiian, it’s exciting to have a [Space Force] presence here,” said Capt. Cody Felipe, one of the officers sworn in Monday. “It’s a great opportunity and exciting to be a part of history, especially for Det. 15, as the island’s first Space Force members.
Felipe joins a group of scientists and engineers from the AFRL site on Maui as newly sworn Space Force Guardians: Capt. Christopher Coury, Capt. Samuel Crouch, Capt. Tara Crouch, Capt. Zachary Funke and Capt. Braden Smith.
They are among the first to become U.S. Space Force Guardians.