Pentagon & Congress

This familiar face is the Space Force’s first top noncommissioned officer

As the Space Force prepares to bring more than 6,000 airman over to the newly created force, the service has picked a top enlisted leader to advise Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond.

Many airmen will recognize him, of course, because Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman had been serving as the organization formerly known as Air Force Space Command’s top enlisted airman since August.

“There has never been a more important time for space as a nation and serving alongside the best teams and the best leadership in the world is an absolute honor,” Towberman said in a Thursday release. "I look forward to the challenges, the excitement, and most importantly, to serving the space professionals that protect our nation and our way of life every day.”

Whether he’ll be known as the “chief master sergeant of the Space Force” is yet to be determined, because the new service has not settled on a rank structure or a term for its troops akin to the Air Force’s airman or Navy’s sailor.

So far, officials have only announced that “spacemen” is off the table.

Towberman enlisted in 1990 as a cryptologic language analyst, according to his bio, making a career as a ground and airborne intelligence and cryptologic language analyst, racking up over 4,500 flying hours.

His recent past assignments include command chief at AFSC, senior enlisted adviser to the assistant Air Force secretary for manpower and reserve affairs and command chief master sergeant of the 25th Air Force.

He has deployed to Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, and his awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals and six Air Medals.

“There is a lot of work to do and we are pulling together elite talent to take it on,” Towberman said in the release. “We will never forget the most important weapon system lives and breathes, and we will build a service that keeps their development and well-being in the forefront. There are no limits to what we can accomplish.”

Since it officially stood up in late December, Space Force has been making preparations to transfer the 6,400 uniformed personnel of the former AFSC into the new service.

Those transfers should be completed this year, officials told reporters in February. From there, members of space units and specialties in the other services will have the opportunity to transfer to the Space Force.

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