HOUSTON — Two University of Houston Air Force ROTC cadets will soon join the United States Space Force.
"We’re going to be Space Operations Officers,” Mitchell Montalvo said.
ROTC Lt. Montalvo will earn his computer science degree this May while fellow cadet, chemistry major Christopher Williams, graduated in December.
They’ll be the first from their detachment to directly enter the nation’s newest Armed Services branch.
"I hope I can make it a career," Williams said. "But I’m not going to be in it if I don’t enjoy it.”
Both men grew up in the Houston area and interned with NASA last year. They said that experience helped cement their interest in serving.
They’ll work to, among other things, detect missiles, command satellites and track orbital debris.
"All of the GPS satellites, that not only civilians use, but also for military commanders with soldiers and marines on the front lines," Montalvo said. "That all goes through the Space Force.”
The Biden administration is expected to keep Space Force given global threats to satellite infrastructure and the fact that it would literally take an act of Congress to get rid of it.
“I think a large amount of the politics with, like, 'Why do we have a Space Force?' People just don’t realize how important the space domain is,” Williams said.
Montalvo, whose family has a history of military service, is looking forward to something a little more unique.
"It’s definitely new," Montalvo said. "But that’s also what makes it so exciting.”
He and Williams are expected to enter Space Force basic training by the end of this year.
More information on the U.S. Space Force: