Enlisted ranks in the Space Force are very similar to those in the Air Force. The official rank naming scheme for guardians, as Space Force members are known, was released on Jan. 29, 2021, by Space Force officials. They announced revised insignia for enlisted Guardians on September 20, 2021.
The United States Space Force is the sixth separate branch of the US military, tasked with missions and operations in the constantly changing space environment. Enlisted Space Force insignia ranks are divided into three categories, similar to the Air Force: Specialists (E-1 through E-4), Non-Commissioned Officers (E-5 and E-6), and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers (E-7 and E-8) (E-7 through E-9).
- Specialist Ranks (E-1 through E-4)
- Non-Commissioned Officer Ranks (E-5 and E-6)
- Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Ranks (E-7 through E-9)
- Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force (E-9S)
All enlisted insignia will be printed on a hexagonal foundation, which “represents the USSF as the 6th branch of the US armed forces,” according to the Space Force. The Space Force delta is located in the center. Guardians get a vertical stripe running across the hexagon for each rank E-2 through E-4. These “Vandenberg stripes,” based on a pattern recommended for junior enlisted by General Vandenberg, who served as Chief of Staff of the Air Force between 1948 and 1953, pay homage to the new branch’s Air Force lineage. One of the general’s namesakes is the Vandenberg Space Force Base.
The three straight “Vandenberg stripes” of an E-4 will be curved into a more typical “v” form and moved towards the bottom of the hexagon when future Space Force sergeants achieve E-5. The Delta is now built around a “globe and orbit” concept. The addition of a fourth “v” stripe distinguishes E-6 Technical Sergeants.
The Space Force delta rises above the “globe and orbit” pattern, with the addition of arch-shaped “orbital stripes” for senior enlisted (E-7 through E-9). E-7 has one stripe, E-8 has two, and E-9 has three.
The emblems are filled with more symbolism at this stage than even a literature scholar could pick up on.
Officers’ insignia have yet to be revealed, but each officer may wear the Space Force delta over a different moon or planet in the solar system to symbolize “this higher level of responsibility, while the Delta breaking through the [planets’] orbits show their willingness to explore and innovate.” While the colonels are already breaking through Neptune’s orbit, the second lieutenants make it to the moon. The Space Force, on the other hand, is most likely already layering metaphors and symbolism ahead of this plan.