One Guardian: Growing an empowered culture

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Hillary Gibson, Space Operations Command Public Affairs

U.S. Space Force Lt. Col. Bridget Ajinga is serving as Space Operations Command’s Delta 3 Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Squadron’s provisional commander. In her current role, Ajinga is inspired by the things her unit is doing in the intelligence community and is relishing the space she and her team have to push the status quo and the opportunity to fail forward.  

Back in 2006, Ajinga was pursuing a degree in Music Education. The military was the furthest thing from her mind. Suffice it to say, the decision to commission reflected a 180 degree turn in Ajinga’s life plan. Her initial assignment was with the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Okinawa, Japan as an aviation intelligence officer and would be the first on a diverse list of challenging but rewarding military endeavors.  

“As a Marine officer, the focus is on leadership from day one. Taking care of Marines, and now my Guardians, is and has always been my top priority,” reflects Ajinga. “As a mother, I understand the importance of work life balance. My goal is to help my Guardians be the best version of themselves both on and off duty so we can be the most effective at our jobs. There’s too much at stake if we aren’t deliberately practicing self-care.” 

It’s clear Ajinga feels fortunate for the lessons the Marine’s taught her. She will always be grateful for the relationships, self-discipline, and perspective she gained. But, when she had the chance to transfer into the Space Force, Ajinga couldn’t resist.  

“The Marines’ have a multi-domain mission focus,” explained Ajinga. “So, the opportunity to hone in on one domain and be a plank holder in developing both the culture and mission of the nation’s newest military service was very exciting.” 

As an interservice transfer and part of the first wave of Guardians, Ajinga understands how her prior military experience is driving her future service. The Space Force, only 3 years old, and SpOC, even younger, is an amalgamation of prior service officers and enlisted members, seasoned civilians, and new recruits. Its culture is representative of this fact—a patchwork of the best attributes from each of America’s warfighting services. Quickly, however, a unique Guardian spirit is emerging, and it centers on transparency and empowerment.  

According to Ajinga, “We all want to be here. We are all passionate about the mission and supporting each other. Our units take pride in what we do for our nation. We are actively embracing exactly who we are. We are skilled warfighters. No one can do what Guardians do, the way we do it. And I am honored to be a part of such an impressive team—from service-level down to the unit. With our talent, the horizon is limitless.”