On Friday, Vice President Mike Pence celebrated the one year anniversary of Donald Trump’s new branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, the Space Force. Pence did so by announcing that — as those serving in the Navy are known as sailors and those in the army are known as soldiers — “henceforth, the members of the United States Space Force will be known as ‘guardians.'”
“It is my honor, on behalf of the president of the United States, to announce that henceforth, the men and women of the United States Space Force will be known as guardians,” Vice President Pence says at the force’s 1st birthday celebration pic.twitter.com/YWMIfbI8es
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) December 18, 2020
According to the official Space Force Twitter account, it took “a yearlong process that produced hundreds of submissions and research involving space professionals and members of the general public” to come up with the new designation for Space Force members.
“Guardians is a name with a long history in space operations,” said an official statement, “tracing back to the original command motto of Air Force Space Command in 1983, ‘Guardians of the High Frontier.'”
Today, after a yearlong process that produced hundreds of submissions and research involving space professionals and members of the general public, we can finally share with you the name by which we will be known: Guardians. pic.twitter.com/Tmlff4LKW6
— United States Space Force (@SpaceForceDoD) December 18, 2020
The announcement drew a quick reaction from Guardians of the Galaxy fans, who thought there might be another, more recent inspiration.
Some fans asked if raccoons would be allowed into the Space Force.
One asked simply, “can their mascot be Groot?
Can their mascot be groot? pic.twitter.com/OOtqdSB52x
— Make Reality Great Again (@dustyddunaway) December 18, 2020
“Space Force” soon became the top trending term on Twitter, followed by “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Star Lord” and “Star Trek.”
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn wrote, apparently about Pence, “Can we sue this dork?”
Can we sue this dork? https://t.co/9skZ8aG446
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) December 19, 2020
Many maintained that the Space Force emblem, unveiled last summer, was a ripoff of another beloved sci-fi franchise.
“It took you a year to come up with a Star Trek logo and a Marvel name?” wrote one Twitter user. “Was your backup the Go-go Gadget Galactics or something?”
It took you a year to come up with a Star Trek logo and a Marvel name? Was your backup the Go-go Gadget Galactics or something?
— David Robinson (@daverobinsonme) December 18, 2020
According to official Space Force literature, the logo is a Delta symbol.
“First used in 1961, the Delta symbol honors the heritage of the USAF and Space Command,” explains an official statement — that’s before the original Star Trek series debuted.
The outer silver border of the logo “signifies defense and protection from all adversaries and threats emanating from the space domain.” The black inner border “embodies the vast darkness of deep space.”
The Space Force motto is “Sempa Supra,” or “Always Above” and, according to Pence, President Trump is its “founder.”