Schriever SFB welcomes new space squadron, commander

  • Published
  • By Emily Klinkenborg, Public Affairs Specialist
  • Space Base Delta 1 Public Affairs

The 53rd Space Operations Squadron unfurled their colors during an activation ceremony at The Hub on Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, June 29, 2022.

The activation of 53rd SOPS, assigned under Space Delta 8 – Satellite Communications and Navigational Warfare, signified the transfer of the 53rd Signal Battalion from a U.S. Army unit to the newest space operation squadron in the U.S. Space Force.

U.S. Space Force Col. Matthew Holston, DEL 8 commander, offered remarks as the presiding official during the ceremony.

“It’s exciting to be here on this historic day and it truly has been a long time coming,” said Holston. “We could not pull this off as an individual service - this is enabled by the integration with the United States Army.”

The unit’s heritage can be traced back 81 years to World War II as one of the oldest operational battalions in the U.S. Army. 53rd SOPS is the only unit in the DoD that conducts payload and transmission control for the defense satellite communications system and wideband global SATCOM satellite constellations.

The activation of the 53rd SOPS is a critical step in the DoD’s efforts of consolidating all military satellite communication functions under a single military service for the first time.

“Over the course of the next few months we will begin the deliberate transition of Army wideband payload control and SATCOM-management personnel, as well as the wideband payload control mission, to the [U.S.] Space Force,” said Holston.

U.S. Space Force Senior Master Sgt. Raymond Flores, 53rd SOPS senior enlisted leader, revealed the colors and raised the guidon initiating the assumption of command ceremony for the newly activated squadron.

Service members donned their new unit’s patch as Holston passed the colors to U.S. Space Force Lt. Col. Susan Rogers, entrusting her to lead as the first commander of the 53rd SOPS.

Rogers was one of 14 U.S. Army officers selected to help establish the U.S. Space Force and was one of the first four U.S. Army officers to transfer into the branch.

“I want to say thank you to the men and women of the 53rd Space Operations Squadron – Soldiers, Guardians, civilians and contractors - you are the heart and soul of the unit,” said Rogers. “I am excited and humbled for the opportunity to lead this fantastic team.”

The 53rd Signal Battalion, formally assigned to the U.S. Army Satellite Operations Brigade under the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, is postured to retire their colors in 2023.

“This is the beginning of our journey and our legacy,” said Rogers. “Stay true to your values, trust in one another and continue to write the story of the 53rd Space Operations Squadron.”