By Queena Jones | MDA Public Affairs
Huntsville, Ala. — Guardians serving at the Missile Defense Agency in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Huntsville, Alabama, joined Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond in a ceremonial Service transfer on August 2, 2021, to celebrate their transitions from the U.S. Air Force to the U.S. Space Force.
As Chief of Space Operations, Raymond serves as the senior military member of the Space Force and is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Raymond is responsible for organizing, training, and equipping all Guardians serving in the United States and overseas. He presided over a virtual transition ceremony from the Pentagon as the new MDA Guardians’ families attended in person or online from locations across the U.S.
Lt. Col. Christine Guzman and Lt. Col. Jeremy Kruger, reaffirmed their oaths at the MDA’s Missile Defense Integration and Operations Center in Colorado Springs.
In Huntsville, Col. Erin Peterson, Col. Brian Flusche, Lt. Col. Ryan Hiserote, Lt. Col. Daniel Karrels, Lt. Col. David Laird, Lt. Col. Steven Wright, and Maj. Stuart Everson also reaffirmed their oaths as transfers to the Space Force.
Each permanent transfer was voluntary, as the Space Force began accepting applications for transfers in May 2020 from airmen in career fields such as engineering, intelligence, cyberspace operations, and acquisition. Raymond said more than 5,400 personnel have transferred into the Space Force to date.
With more than a dozen Guardians now serving with the MDA, U.S. Space Force Maj. Gen. Phil Garrant said these select personnel are essential to the MDA mission of defending and protecting U.S. and allied interests in space.
“Space superiority is critical to our national defense,” Garrant said. “It’s no longer a future warfighting domain, it’s today’s essential operating environment, especially for the missile defense mission.”
“The Guardians have a natural role here at the Missile Defense Agency that is synonymous with the Space Force mission to deter aggression in, from, and to space, to protect the interests of the United States in space, and to conduct space operations,” Garrant said.
Garrant is the program executive for the MDA’s Ground-Based Weapon Systems (GW), including Ground-Based Midcourse Defense, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), four Joint U.S. and Israeli programs, and several classified programs.
The Guardians officially transferred to the Space Force following their Senate confirmations in June, along with other Guardians serving at the MDA, including Garrant, Lt. Col. Benjamin Barbour, Lt. Col. Shyam Munshi, Lt. Col. Aaron Sprecher, Lt. Col. William Steininger-Holmes, and Maj. Christine Ewing. MDA Guardian Master Sgt. Mitchel Tolsma transferred to the Space Force earlier this year. MDA’s first Guardian, Maj. John Burton, has moved to an assignment outside the MDA.
Established Dec. 20, 2019, within the Department of the Air Force, the Space Force is the newest branch of the Armed Forces. The Secretary of the Air Force has overall responsibility for the Space Force.