DEL 3 captain earns USSF Polaris Award for Courage

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Aliviah Williams 
  • Space Base Delta 1 Public Affairs

U.S. Space Force Capt. Victoria Garcia, Space Delta 3 – Space Electromagnetic Warfare chief of the mission planning cell, was awarded the first-ever U.S. Space Force annual Polaris Award for Courage at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Nov. 18, 2022.   

The Polaris Awards are a newly-formed, service-wide annual awards program, consisting of four individual awards, which recognize Guardians who exemplify the USSF core values of Character, Courage, Commitment and Connection; and one team award, which encompasses all four values.   

In her current position, Garcia and her office oversee current and future operations and any type of integration that DEL 3 does with electromagnetic warfare. However, before she worked with DEL 3, Garcia served as the 4th Electromagnetic Warfare Squadron mission support director for about a year and a half. This was also where she learned about the support it takes to get an equipment that supports a combatant command to an area of responsibility.   

Because of the experience she received at the 4th EWS, when the opportunity came up for a deployment, Garcia asked to be selected to serve as the deployment commander. Garcia’s confidence in her ability to lead her team in a location she had never been, stemmed from the tools she acquired through her training and the incredible team they had built for the mission.   

“Why not ask [for the opportunity], the worst they can tell me is no,” said Garcia.    

Working with the 4th EWS helped her tremendously while she was deployed. From the knowledge that she acquired through watching her team of system experts, she learned what it takes from a cyber, security and logistics standpoint.   

“Because I oversaw that portion of the squadron already, I had that knowledge from when my team taught me as their director,” said Garcia. “And because I had that knowledge, it was easy to translate that to execute that mission.”  

Garcia and a team of five others arrived at the deployed location two weeks early, which allowed them to determine what it would look like when the five C-130J Super Hercules arrived and delivered all the equipment and the remaining passengers. They used the extra time to their advantage by helping develop similar equipment that was there on ground to operate later.    

As the members started to show up, Garcia’s team’s hard work in those two weeks paid off, and everything ran like clockwork. Garcia emphasized the importance of the team that she served with and the gratitude she has for every member, because without them, the mission wouldn’t have been completed.    

Garcia was announced the winner of the Polaris award amongst the other contestants at the first annual USSF Ball held in Los Angeles.   

“Leading a team into a foreign country, standing up a mission on short notice with a team of Airman and Guardians she just met, and knocking it out of the park, showed great courage,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Thomas Harris, Space Delta 3 director of staff. “Usually for first-time deployments, a seasoned field grade officer is sent to get things stood up, and there is usually way more lead time." 

Garcia’s personal definition of courage comes from her mother.   

“She is the picture of courage to me,” said Garcia. “If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be in the military, my sister wouldn’t be a physician's assistant, and my little sister wouldn’t be a nurse. She is absolutely the foundation and more and is where my courage comes from.”