Col. Nicole Petrucci assumes command of Delta 3

  • Published
  • By Ms. Emily Peacock

U.S. Space Force Col. Nicole Petrucci assumed command of Delta 3-Space Electromagnetic Warfare Thursday, June 29, 2023, at Peterson Space Force Base.

During the change of command ceremony, outgoing DEL 3 commander, U.S. Space Force Col. Christopher Fernengel, passed the ceremonial guidon to U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Patrick Cobb, Air National Guard Assistant to the Commander, Space Operations Command, who then passed it to incoming DEL 3 commander, Col. Petrucci, symbolizing the transfer of authority from one commander to the next.

“Under [Col. Fernengel’s] leadership, Delta 3 deployed 425 total force Guardians and Airmen across seven combat detachments, in support of six combatant commands,” said Cobb. “His visionary leadership was key during the Counter Communication System’s first deployment in which he led a team of sixteen EW professionals, escorting and operationalizing over 83-thousand pounds of cargo into theater.”

During his two years in command, Fernengel and DEL 3 executed 16 airlift operations, transporting over 650,000 lbs. of equipment, worth $17 million, in and out of theater, demonstrating the Delta’s ability to conduct offensive and defensive operations.

Additionally, under his leadership, DEL 3 forged a partnership with Space Systems Command’s Rapid Reaction Branch, leading to the creation of the Space Force’s first EW Quick Reaction Force, creating a deliberate and sustainable process to develop, train and operate RRB-built and acquired Quick Reaction Capabilities.

For these achievements and many others, Fernengel was awarded the Legion of Merit.

After posing for a photo with Maj. Gen. Cobb and his award, Fernengel reflected on his time in command.

“I took the guidon two years ago from Col. John Thien, the first [Delta 3] commander, and as the first commander, he may have had blocks to work with, but he really started from nothing,” said Fernengel. “Over the past two years, I gave it my best effort, messing up lots of times, getting feedback lots of times, and now we’re in a healthy transition for Col. Petrucci, who I know and trust. Trust me when I say Delta 3 is in good hands and a good heart with Col. Petrucci.”

Following his remarks, Fernengel received his final salute from the DEL 3 formation and presented Petrucci with the DEL 3 commander’s coin.

“You left some big shoes to fill, brother” laughed Petrucci. “Delta 3 is a reflection of your dedication and leadership, and it speaks volumes to what you have built here. I hope to do all I can to build on the Delta 3 legacy as we move towards what the Space Force, the joint force and what our nation needs from this amazing group of professionals.”

Prior to her new role as DEL 3 commander, Petrucci served as a program analyst for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, specializing in cost assessment and program assessment.

Petrucci received her commission from Fresno State University in 2001. Her extensive military career includes teaching 21 Weapons Instructor courses at Nellis Air Force Base, serving as the director of operations for the 1st Space Operation Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, the commander of the 614th Combat Training Squadron and later as the executive officer for the 14th Air Force, Space Operations Command at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

DEL 3 trains and presents operational combat-ready space electromagnetic warfare forces in support of assigned missions. DEL 3 is headquartered at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado. The units within DEL 3 include the 4th, 5th and 16th Space Control Squadrons and the 3rd Combat Training Squadron.