After months of using air force rank insignia as a stop gap measure (although some had been modified for the most senior enlisted), the Space Force has finally revealed the new insignia for its enlisted ranks. The final designs bear much resemblance to what emerged as the most popular option during an internal survey open to all Space Force personnel. However, the just unveiled insignia have never been publicly shown before.
All enlisted insignia will be printed on a hexagonal base which according to the Space Force “represents the USSF as the 6th branch of the US armed forces”. At the center lies the Space Force delta. For each rank E-2 through E-4, Guardians gain a vertical stripe running across the hexagon. These “Vandenberg stripes” pay a homage to the new branch’s Air Force heritage as they are based off a design proposed for junior enlisted by general Vandenberg who served as Chief of Staff of the Air Force between 1948 and 1953. Vandenberg Space Force base is one of the general’s namesakes.
Upon reaching E-5, new Space Force sergeants will see the three straight “Vandenberg stripes” of an E-4 bent into a more traditional “v” shape and pushed towards the bottom of the hexagon. The Delta now rests upon a “globe and orbit” design. E-6 Technical Sergeants are distinguished by adding a fourth “v” stripe.
Senior enlisted (E-7 through E-9) see the Space Force delta ascend over the “globe and orbit” design and the addition of arch-shaped “orbital stripes”. One stripe for E-7, two for E-8, three for E-9.
It is at this point that the insignia are imbued with more symbolism than even a literature professor could catch. According to the information sheet for the new enlisted rank insignia:
“The Orbital Chevrons correlate with Low Earth, Medium Earth and Geosynchronous Orbits as SNCO [Senior Non-commissioned Officers] progress through their development. The placement of the Delta above the Globe further signifies this higher level of responsibility while the Delta breaking through the Orbits shows their willingness to explore and innovate. The open space around the Orbital Chevrons signifies the vastness of the warfighting domain of Space and the limitless potential of our Space Force”.
The insignia which will be adopted by officers are yet to be revealed but perhaps each officer could have the Space Force delta over a different moon or planet of the solar system in order to signify “this higher level of responsibility while the Delta breaking through the [planets’] orbits shows their willingness to explore and innovate”. The second lieutenants make it to the moon while the colonels are already breaking through Neptune’s orbit. However, the Space Force is probably already layers of metaphors and symbolism ahead of this proposal.