Bootcamp to Begin for First Class of Space Force Recruits

October 21, 2020 by Reece Nations

SAN ANTONIO – The military’s newest branch, the United States Space Force, swore in its first recruits Tuesday, Oct. 20.

Seven recruits, five men and two women, will commence the force’s inaugural boot camp at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland for seven and a half weeks, according to local affiliate KABB Fox News 29. These recruits are set to become the first enlisted members the force has trained and not acquired from other services. 

The USSF expects to recruit 312 enlisted members in 2021 and between 300 to 500 the following year, according to Air Force Magazine. The process by which the force selected its recruits focused less on standardized testing and more on personal assessments conducted by interviews.

“All the (Air Force specialties) currently will do what is basically the Air Force basic training course, with some adjustments to the courseware to implement the space courses,” Chief Master Sgt. Shane Pilgrim, the Space Force’s chief of enlisted force development, told Air Force Magazine. “We have three (training instructors) currently assigned to Lackland that are space professionals. So that’s how we’re building in these space experiences—having the flight led by a space T.I., having specific courseware to space—but they are still going through Air Force BMT (Basic Military Training) for all intents and purposes.”

In addition to undergoing the same regimen as U.S. Air Force recruits, the recruits will learn “law, policy, orbital mechanics, electromagnetic waves and signals, space environment, space systems, command authorities, and joint space warfighting,” according to a Space Force release.

Prospective recruits should know the Space Force’s workforce will rely more heavily on civilians and officers than the Air Force’s, Pilgrim said. Other military specialties are more physical than Space Force’s and require more deployments.

“We are going to incorporate some video-enhanced courseware, some stuff where we can actually leverage technology to bring the experience of current space professionals into BMT instead of the traditional PowerPoint,” Pilgrim told Air Force Magazine. “Either livestreaming panels or building pre-recorded videos of professionals talking about the different space competencies (are) some of the things we’re going to do.”

Although it is still far from becoming reality, United States Space Command leader Maj. Gen. John Shaw said Space Force troops will eventually be sent to space, TWN previously reported. The Space Force recruited more than 2,400 troops in September. 

Once the recruits have finished their basic training, they will undergo further specialty training, according to Air Force Magazine.

Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss., will conduct training for cyber specialists; Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas, will conduct training intelligence professionals; Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, Calif., will conduct training for space operators.

“I feel like a pioneer going into a new realm of the military,” Second Lt. Elizabeth Kowal said in a release. “This is literally the adventure of a lifetime and I can’t wait to jump in with everything that I have.” 

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