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Space Force’s top enlisted Guardian reenlisted by most junior officer

  • Published
  • By SAF/PA Staff Writer
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

In a moment that would bookend the beginning of her career, U.S. Space Force 2nd Lt. Josephine Lerner—who was supporting the Chief Operations Officer front office as an intern last summer while waiting to go to technical training—had the honor of administering the oath of enlistment to the future Chief Master Sgt., of the Space Force John F. Bentivegna in Manassas, Virginia on August 19.

Before taking his new role as CMSSF on Sept. 15, Bentivegna asked the most junior Space Force officer in the Pentagon to administer the oath of enlistment for the final time in his career. Lerner expressed gratitude for being selected for Bentivegna’s last time he would raise his right hand and swear to serve his country.

“It was an honor of a lifetime,” said Lerner who noted the link between her administration of Bentivegna’s reenlistment and Guardian values, as detailed in the Guardian Spirit, a handbook that provides guidance to Guardians on how to live the four Guardian values—Character, Connection, Commitment and Courage—in daily life.

“As the Guardian Spirit says, ‘We are connected by a common purpose greater than ourselves’. I think Chief Bentivegna’s reenlistment gave a symbolic nod towards that key value,” added Lerner.

“Connection among Guardians—especially the next generation of Guardians—is paramount,” said Bentivegna. “They will be the ones that shape the Space Force in the years to come.”

While Bentivegna reaffirmed his oath of enlistment for the last time on August 19, this was the first time that Lerner had re-enlisted someone in her career.

“There’s definitely a heritage aspect in the re-enlistment ceremony,” Lerner said. “It was almost like a ‘passing the torch’ type of event. He chose a junior Guardian because he is coming up—relatively speaking—towards the end of his career, and I am just getting started.”

Receiving her commission only five and one-half months ago, Lerner continues the military tradition within her family as members served in both the U.S. Army Air Corp and the British Royal Air Force. She is the first member of her family to serve in the Space Force, trailblazing her own military legacy.

Lerner joins other Guardians in shaping the future of the Space Force.

“I wanted to serve,” Lerner said. “The military has been a big deal in my family, and the Space Force looked cool … the mission is important, so I threw my hat in the ring.”

“I look forward to following Lerner career as she helps shape and strengthen the future of our Space Force,” Bentivegna said. 

Having completed her internship three days after Bentivegna’s reenlistment ceremony, Lerner went on active duty on August 22, and now serves as an aide-decamp for the Space Force Chief Operations Officer’s Office.