An officer from the country’s youngest military branch, the Space Force, made history when she joined a Marine Expeditionary Unit for the first time in September, according to a Marine Corps release.
First Lt. Rio Sarmiento transferred from the Air Force to the Space Force on Sept. 17, when Marine Corps Col. Michael Nakonieczny swore her into the new service aboard the amphibious assault ship America during its deployment as part of the 31st MEU, the release said.
"It was an honor to be transferred from the Air Force to the Space Force by the 31st MEU commanding officer on a Navy vessel,” Sarmiento said in the press release.
The Space Force recently deployed a squadron for 20 service members to Qatar’s Al Udeid Air Base for its first foreign deployment, since its creation Dec. 20, 2019.
Sarmiento, assigned to the 16th Space Control Squadron, will take on the role as the Space Force liaison officer tasked with assessing and enhancing the MEU’s “space capabilities," the release said.
“Ensuring that mission planners understand the space capabilities available to them during the mission planning process is more of a necessity than a luxury, since space applies to all domains," Sarmiento said in the release.
“We want to equip our joint forces with the essential capabilities to remain lethal and competitive against adversaries,” she added.
The 31st MEU is currently operating in Pacific Ocean near Japan as part of the U.S. 7th Fleets area of operations, the release said.