LOS ANGELES — Chief of Space Operations Gen. B. Chance Saltzman announced the service-level Polaris Award recipients at the inaugural Space Force Ball in Los Angeles on Nov. 18.
The establishment of the service-wide award program is significant as the newest military branch builds its own unique traditions and culture. This is the first time the Polaris Awards have been awarded at the service level since the program was created this year.
The Polaris Awards embody the four Guardian Values of Character, Courage, Commitment and Connection; there are four individual award categories representing each value, and a team excellence category that signifies all four values.
“For us to operate in today’s challenging security environment, we need our Guardians to be steeped in our values,” said Saltzman. “Our Polaris Award recipients are all superstars who have set the standard of living and working with Courage, Commitment, Character, and Connection alongside their fellow Guardians.”
All military and civilian Guardians were eligible to submit for each Polaris Award category. Out of more than 14,500 Guardians, the 2022 recipients showcased excellence in executing their missions and served as a shining example of the Guardian Values.
The service-level Polaris Awards recipients are:
The Character Award: Sgt. Tarek Salem, 61st Communications Squadron, Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA
The Commitment Award: TSgt Jake Harris, 328th Weapons Squadron, Nellis AFB, NV
The Connection Award: MSgt Jessica Morgan, 3rd Wing, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, AK
The Courage Award: Capt Victoria Garcia, Space Delta 3, Peterson Space Force Base, CO
The Team Excellence Award: United States Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Director of Staff, Space Forces, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
The United States Space Force is responsible for remaining a combat-ready force that can deliver space capabilities to the field. Space Force members are expected to be ready to carry out their missions through living the Guardian Values.
Guardians are expected to rely on character as their inner moral compass, in connection with their fellow Guardians as they pursue the mission of the Space Force with commitment and courage.
To integrate Guardians more deeply with the four values of Courage, Commitment, Character, and Connection, the Space Force is set to release its Guardian Values Handbook in late 2022. The handbook will detail each Guardian Value and will contextualize how USSF members can live the values in their daily lives.