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First Aviano Airmen to enlist in U.S. Space Force

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Valerie Halbert
  • 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Two of our very own Wyverns transferred into the ranks of the U.S. Space Force during an enlistment ceremony at Aviano Air Base, Italy, Dec. 3, 2020.

Senior Master Sgt. Sean Winters, 606th Air Control Squadron cyber operations and maintenance superintendent, and Senior Master Sgt. Paul Norris, 606th ACS cyber operations and maintenance operations superintendent, are the first Airmen to enlist into the U.S. Space Force while stationed here.

During the ceremony, both U.S. Air Force Col. Leslie Hauck, 31st Operations Group commander, and U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brian Robertson, 606th ACS commander, spoke to Winters and Norris and congratulated them on their accomplishments.

Norris has only been at Aviano for a little over a month, and was previously stationed at Thule Air Base, Greenland, which gave him an idea of what to expect moving forward.

“I actually got a glimpse into the realm of space operations during my time at Thule,” said Norris. “I was thoroughly impressed by the professionalism and expertise of the space operator teams that I encountered.”

After the Air Force Space Command was redesignated as the U.S. Space Force in December of 2019, the Department of Defense began consolidating several space missions, units, and career fields into this new branch. Some of these career fields included space operations, space systems, intelligence, engineering and cyber.

“I jumped at the opportunity to join the Space Force team because of the chance to make history and to have a seat at the table of a brand-new service,” said Norris. “I’m a firm believer that growth occurs when you step outside of your comfort zone. I am extremely excited about the opportunities that the Space Force offers.”

Winters also expressed his interest to try something new and different.

“Since the inception, Space Force leadership has been advertising quicker acquisitions on technology which is very exciting in the cyber world,” said Winters. “I’m just really excited about being on the ground floor and being a part of building a foundation.”

Although Winters and Norris are both excited for these new transitions in their lives, Winters feels a closer familiar tie to the new changes.

“My grandfather was one of the originals to make the leap from the Army Air Corps to the Air Force, so we [can] call this a family tradition,” said Winters.

As the Space Force continues to grow as a military branch, Winters and Norris will also be growing into a new branch of their lives.