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USSF establishes Polaris Awards program, announces field command recipients ahead of inaugural service ball

  • Published
  • By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
The U.S. Space Force announced its first-ever Polaris Awards recipients at the Field Command level, marking the establishment of the program and first year the military branch is executing its own unique, service-wide annual awards program.
Space Force service-wide recipients will be announced at the first annual Space Force Ball being held in Los Angeles on Nov. 18.
"Guardian Values are our Polaris - our North Star - they guide us in all we do," said Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman. "Every Guardian's commitment to our values directly influences our ability to execute our mission and maintain readiness. I am immensely proud of each of these recipients, and for who they represent -- each Guardian who contributes to the nation's defense."
The Polaris Awards consist of four individual award categories representing the USSF Guardian Values of Character, Courage, Commitment and Connection, in addition to a team award that embodies all four values.
"Our values began with input directly from our Guardians, and now we get to recognize those Guardians who exemplify and operationalize those values," said Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force Roger A. Towberman. "It's amazing to watch! We couldn't be more proud of all the hard work!"
The Guardian Commitment, listed in the Guardian Ideal, clearly defines the values the Space Force expects its members to follow.
Guardians must exhibit Character with ethical standards as the foundation of their personal and professional lives, and are expected to be fully accountable for their decisions, actions, and inactions.
Members are also expected to have the Courage to do what needs to be done, and say what needs to be said, because it is the right thing to do. Guardians must also take bold action, accepting risk when necessary to secure and defend the space domain.
Guardians must value Commitment, defined as the pursuit of mastery of themselves, their profession, and domain. They are expected to see opportunities to learn and grow with the help of their teams where others may see challenges and obstacles.
Connection is another essential Guardian Value that emphasizes Guardians are connected by a common purpose greater than themselves. Guardians are expected to seek out diversity and engage inclusively, knowing that harnessing different perspectives fuels innovation.

“Our members emulate the U.S. Space Force Guardian Values of Character, Courage, Commitment, and Connection every day,” said Katharine Kelley, Deputy Chief of Space Operations for Human Capital. “Establishing our Polaris Awards program is an important opportunity to recognize the day-to-day representation of these values in both our Guardians and the teams they are a part of.”  
Field Command-level recipients for each category were selected from the three USSF field commands: Space Operations Command (SpOC), Space Systems Command (SSC), and Space Training and Readiness Command (STARCOM). The Headquarters Director of Staff (DS) selected recipients from organizations that fall outside of a field command:
  • The Character Award Recipients are:
    • TSgt Joshua L. Barton (STARCOM)
    • Lt Col Jason A. Holt (DS)
    • Sgt Tarek E. Salem (SSC)
    • MSgt Seth D. Souza (SPOC)
  • The Courage Award Recipients are:
    • MSgt Dalton S. Grainger (STARCOM)
    • TSgt Jennifer M. Lopes (DS)
    • 1st Lt Owen P. Burek (SSC)
    • Capt Victoria Garcia (SPOC)
  • The Commitment Award Recipients are:
    • TSgt Jake E. Harris (STARCOM)
    • Lt Col Brian W. Kester (DS)
    • Capt Kelsey A. Smith (SSC)
    • Spc4 Michelle A. Skeets (SPOC)
  • The Connection Award Recipients are:
    • Capt Matthew J. Thampy (STARCOM)
    • MSgt Jessica K. Morgan (DS)
    • Sgt Michaela D. Sosville (SSC)
    • Spc4 Susan Y. Kim (SPOC)
  • The Team Excellence Award recipients are:
    • 328th Weapons Squadron (STARCOM)
    • United States Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Director of Staff, Space Forces (DS)
    • Enterprise Capability Integration Office (SSC)
    • 4th Space Operations Squadron Weapons and Tactics (SPOC)

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