Vandenberg Air Force Base looks to be on the verge of getting a new name that will reflect its updated out-of-this-world mission.
Following last year’s establishment of the U.S. Space Force as the sixth branch of the military, the Air Force Space Command at VAFB was renamed U.S. Space Force provisional, and the 14th Air Force, which was headquartered at VAFB, was redesignated as Space Operations Command.
Another marquee name change looks to be in the works.
Although the renaming process is ongoing, a recent report from the 30th Space Wing, one of VAFB’s primary tenants, stated that plans are underway for a renaming ceremony that will officially redub the base "Vandenberg Space Force Base."
When contacted for confirmation of those plans, base officials would neither confirm nor deny the name change.
"We are currently exploring options for the many characteristics of culture that will define the U.S. Space Force,” read the response from 30th Space Wing public affairs. “In support of that effort, we are following a deliberate process to ensure the naming of installations hosting U.S. Space Force facilities and personnel accurately represents the space professionals and missions that reside there.
“We intend to make a public announcement about installation name changes in the near future following appropriate local community, state, congressional and Defense Department stakeholder notifications."
With Measure I having received overwhelming support in Tuesday's primary election, Lompoc leaders are already looking at their next steps as the city prepares for an influx of additional revenue brought on by the sales tax increase.
Base officials did not provide a timeline for when those notifications are expected to be made.
The U.S. Space Force is currently headquartered at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. It is under the command of Gen. John “Jay” Raymond.
If VAFB's name is indeed changed, it would not be a first for the base, located about 9 miles northwest of Lompoc.
The base was first developed in 1941 by the Army and dubbed Camp Cooke in honor of Maj. Gen. Phillip St. George Cooke. In 1956, it was taken over by the Air Force and renamed Cooke Air Force Base.
In 1958, the base was renamed again, this time as Vandenberg Air Force Base in honor of Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg, a former Air Force chief of staff.
Other bases with space-related missions, including at least two in Florida, are also reportedly set to undergo name changes to reflect their new Space Force missions.
The objective of the U.S. Space Force, according to Air Force leaders, is to organize, train and equip the forces necessary to enhance space warfighting readiness and lethality.
Col. Anthony Mastalir, the commander of the 30th Space Wing, told airmen during a Feb. 27 “all call” presentation that the 30th Space Wing's mission to assure access to space will not change.
“One of the reasons the U.S. Space Force is so important to this country is that our adversaries are already building and have already fielded weapons that are designed to attack spacecraft in the space domain,” Mastalir said, according to public affairs. “So whether we like it or not, space is now a warfighting domain. The citizens of this country place their trust in us that we’re going to defend the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that’s the oath that we take.”
The 14th Air Force, which is headquartered at Vandenberg Air Force Base, has been officially redesignated as Space Operations Command in support of the U.S. Space Force that was established this month by President Donald Trump.
Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.
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