Trump presented with Space Force flag by military officials in Oval Office

The Space Force became the sixth branch of the U.S. military in December.

May 15, 2020, 3:41 PM

Senior military officials introduced the United States Space Force flag -- which represents the new sixth branch of the U.S. military -- to President Donald Trump and its new home in the Oval Office on Friday afternoon.

Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond and senior enlisted adviser Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman officially unveiled the flag to the president, who called the ceremony "a very special moment."

It is the first new military flag to be unveiled in 72 years and will remain in the Oval Office alongside the flags of the other five branches, officials said.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump stands as Chief of Space Operations at U.S. Space Force Gen. John Raymond, left, and Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman, right, hold the United States Space Force flag as it is presented in the Oval Office, May 15, 2020.
President Donald Trump stands as Chief of Space Operations at U.S. Space Force Gen. John Raymond, second from left, and Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman, second from right, hold the United States Space Force flag as it is presented in the Oval Office of the White House, May 15, 2020. Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett stands far left.
Alex Brandon/AP

"Space is going to be the future, both in terms of defense and offense and so many other things," Trump said. "And already, from what I'm hearing and based on reports, we're now the leader in space."

Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and special assistant to the president Keith Kellogg, were also present at the event which doubled as a signing ceremony for the 2020 Armed Forces Day proclamation.

Trump mentioned that the U.S. was building a "super-duper missile" that's "17 times faster than what we have right now."

The flag is based on its official seal unveiled earlier in the year -- a circular logo showing an upward-pointing delta graphic laid over a representation of a globe in the center, surrounded by stars, with text that reads "United States Space Force" on top and "Department of the Air Force" on the bottom.

PHOTO: Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman displays his insignia during a presentation of the United States Space Force flag in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, May 15, 2020.
Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman displays his insignia during a presentation of the United States Space Force flag in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, May 15, 2020.
Samuel Corum/Pool via Getty Images

When Trump tweeted out the Space Force logo in January, it drew near-instantaneous replies comparing it the fictional interplanetary force logo of the TV show "Star Trek"'s Starfleet Command.

Trump signed the Space Force into law back in December under the National Defense Authorization Act, saying the U.S. needed to expand its military presence in space.

Nestled within the Air Force, the newly minted branch requested $15.4 billion in its fiscal 2021 budget.

The ceremonial unveiling of its flag comes as the 5-month-old fleet is accepting applications for eligible active-duty personnel to transfer into the service and as it prepares to dedicate a rocket launch to victims of COVID-19 on Saturday.

PHOTO: Space Force Senior Enlisted Advisor CMSgt Roger Towberman with President Donald Trump, presents the U.S. Space Force Flag on May 15, 2020, in the Oval Office.
Space Force Senior Enlisted Advisor CMSgt Roger Towberman with President Donald Trump, presents the U.S. Space Force Flag on May 15, 2020, in the Oval Office.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The Space Force has partnered with United Launch Alliance in launching the Atlas V rocket, to send a rocket into space with a special message for first responders it, reading: "In memory of COVID-19 victims and tribute to all first responders and front-line workers. AMERICA STRONG."

"We are honored to partner with the U.S. Space Force and Air Force to recognize health care workers, first responders and other essential personnel affected by the COVID-19 pandemic," Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs, said Thursday in a statement.

The launch out of Cape Canaveral Air Force Base has garnered interest because the rocket will also carry the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, a a secret Air Force space plane designed for a long-duration mission in low Earth orbit.

PHOTO: A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket stands ready at Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Friday, May 15, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket stands ready at Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Friday, May 15, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
John Raoux/AP Photo

The nation's newest branch of the military just last week also unveiled its new recruiting ad with the tag line: "Maybe your purpose on this planet ... isn't on this planet."

Gen. Raymond and Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett, in a Space Foundation webinar on May 6, said that while recruitment in the more terrestrial branches has waned during the global pandemic, they've seen growing interest.

"There seems to be an avalanche of applicants," Barrett said, adding that they're looking to ultimately fill roughly 16,000 positions.

PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump signs the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 during a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., on Friday, Dec. 20, 2019.
U.S. President Donald Trump signs the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 during a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., on Friday, Dec. 20, 2019.
Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The fleet's new flag was produced by artists at the Defense Logistics Agency, Flag Room in Philadelphia -- the same entity that makes the president's personal flags -- from a design by the Department's Institute of Heraldry at Fort Belvoir, Virgina, according to the White House.

President Trump's enthusiasm for a space fleet has drawn praise and criticism, even inspiring a satirical Netflix series.

ABC News' Ben Gittleson Elizabeth McLaughlin, Luis Martinez and Matt Seyler contributed to this report.

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