WASHINGTON — The members of the U.S. Space Force finally have a name: Guardians. 

Vice President Mike Pence revealed the name Dec. 18 at the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The event was  for the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Space Force, which was established Dec. 20, 2019. The event was headlined by Pence along with Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett and Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond.

“Henceforth the men and women of the U.S. Space Force will be known as guardians,” said Pence. “Soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and guardians.”

Space Force officials spent nearly a year crowdsourcing ideas and polling troops about possible names. 

“The name guardians connects our proud heritage and culture to the important mission we execute 24/7, protecting the people and interest of the U.S. and its allies,” the Space Force said in a statement. 

The announcement of the name selection drew mockery on social media as being inspired by the “Guardians of the Galaxy” space adventure film. 

According to the Space Force: “Guardians is a name with a long history in space operations, tracing back to the original command motto of Air Force Space Command in 1983, ‘Guardians of the High Frontier.’”

The Space Force said hundreds of submissions were received from service members and from the general public.

Raymond officially a member of the Joint Chiefs

The Pentagon announced on Friday that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley officially made Raymond a member of the Joint Chief of Staff, the Defense Department’s panel of most senior uniformed leaders. The joint chiefs advice the president of the United States, the secretary of defense, the Homeland Security Council and the National Security Council on military matters.

The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that established the U.S. Space Force specified that the chief of space operations would become a member of the Joint Chiefs a year after it was signed.

NASA Crew 1 captain joins Space Force

Also on Friday as part of the anniversary celebration, NASA Astronaut Mike Hopkins left the U.S. Air Force and was sworn in as a colonel in the U.S. Space Force in a ceremony aboard the International Space Station.

The transfer ceremony “highlights the decades-long partnership between the Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration,” said NASA Administration Jim Bridenstine. “NASA is proud to have service members from all branches of the military serving as civilian astronauts for over 60 years.”

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...