A connection between past and present: 12th DOS embraces opportunity to shape unit identity

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Charles Rivezzo, Space Training and Readiness Command Public Affairs
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- A military unit’s tradition, history, and lineage are all important factors that help shape its identity and culture. These elements can provide a sense of connection to the past, as well as a source of inspiration and motivation for its members.

For many units, their history and lineage span generations of service members. Some even dating back to the pre-Revolutionary War.

But what does it look like to establish a unit’s identity from the beginning?

This was the question the men and women of the 12th Delta Operations Squadron (12 DOS) sought to answer upon their activation on August 23, 2021, under Delta 12.

The Delta 12 mission is to prepare U.S. Space Force Guardians to prevail in a contested, degraded, and operationally limited environment through the independent test and evaluation of Space Force capabilities, and delivery of timely, accurate, and expert information in support of weapon system acquisition, operational acceptance, and readiness decisions.

The 12th DOS provides the crucial support structure through which the Delta commander executes assigned missions.

In the months that followed the squadron’s activation, the 12th DOS chose Atlas, the ancient Greek Titan, to symbolize their organization, drawing upon their connection to the 45th Operations Support Squadron, which existed at Patrick Space Force Base, Florida, from November 1991 until July 2018.

During the unveiling of Atlas, the members of the squadron were no longer just Guardians, embracing their newfound identity as “Titans”.

“A team needs a symbol to rally around,” said U.S. Space Force Lt. Col. Jonathon Noonan, 12th DOS commander. “[We wanted] something to instill pride and ownership in our mission and rich lineage.”

Squadron superintendent, U.S. Space Force Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Soto, echoed Noonan’s comments, adding further context to what exactly it means to be considered a “Titan”.

“The first thing that comes to my mind on what it means to be a ‘Titan’ is strength and resilience,” Soto said. “The concept of a Delta Operations Squadron is new, so as Titans we need to be resilient as we continue to evolve and solidify our mission.”

“We also need the strength to uphold our responsibilities to the Delta 12 commander and the operational support functions we provide to [our] four test and evaluation squadrons,” he added. “The concept of ‘strength’ is what drove us to establish our motto, ‘Titans! Stay Strong!’”

To actively commemorate their identity as “Titans” and help preserve the legacy and honor of their unit for future generations, the squadron created a time capsule out of their squadron symbol – the iconic hoisted globe above Atlas’ shoulders.

Placed inside the time capsule were various items to connect future “Titans” to their founding. Each item carefully chosen; representing the people, events, and culture of the squadron, and providing future “Titans” a glimpse into the lives and experiences of those who came before them.

Some of the items within the bronze globe included the memorandum from the Secretary of the Air Force establishing Space Training and Readiness Command and its respective Deltas; the Delta 12 and 12th DOS patches signed by the command teams; the USSF and unit’s original organizational structure; and even the inaugural group photo of the 12th DOS members.

Noonan said the time capsule will be unsealed in April 2032 by the command team at the time, adding that his team included a personal letter detailing the purpose behind their identity and the significance of each item within the capsule.

“I hope the command team of 2032 will see these items and reflect upon the grand undertaking of establishing the Space Force to include the Field Commands, Deltas, and units,” Noonan said. “I further hope they will believe we laid a solid foundation for their success, and they will then look to the future and lay the groundwork for even greater things for the next generation of Guardians.”

For now, the time capsule will be sealed and locked in a small glass case on display between the 12 DOS’s heritage and history display cases within the squadron.