Cape Canaveral’s Air Force launch wing to become a space delta

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To create its own identity separate from the Air Force, the Space Force is naming its units deltas.

WASHINGTON — The 45th Space Wing that oversees the space launch ranges in Florida will no longer be a wing, it will be a space delta.

To create its own identity separate from the Air Force, the Space Force is naming its units deltas. The delta wing is the symbol the service adopted for its seal, logo and flag.

The changeover of wings to deltas started last month when the Space Force deactivated three former U.S. Air Force space wings and replaced them with nine deltas and two garrison commands. Deltas focus on specific missions whereas garrisons provide support functions to deltas assigned to their installations.

The only two wings that have not yet been reorganized are the 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, and the 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

The Space Force will have three major commands. Under each command will be deltas and garrisons, with squadrons under them. Commands are run by three-star generals, and deltas and garrisons are commanded by colonels.

Brig. Gen. Doug Schiess, commander of the 45th Space Wing, said the details of the changeover and the naming of the units are still being worked out.

“We do expect a change to come as we stand up other organizations within the Space Force,” Schiess told reporters Aug. 25.

As a delta focused on space launch, the 45th would report to the Space Systems Command, one of the Space Force’s three major field commands. The wing’s base support functions would be done by a garrison command at Patrick Air Force Base.

“It’s likely that you could see two names here, both a garrison and a delta, but none of that has been decided at this time,” he said. “We are working through that as we continue to work through the organizational changes within the Space Force.”

The 45th is one of the few Air Force wings run by a one-star general. Most wings are run by colonels but the Air Force decided the commander of Cape Canaveral should be a one-star general to have equal status with the director of the Kennedy Space Center who is a member of the Senior Executive Service.

Although the Space Force deltas are run by colonels, Schiess said he expects the new organization to retain a general officer. “Again those decisions haven’t been completely made, but at this time we expect that there will continue to be a general officer here at Patrick Air Force Base.”