US Space Force Gets 1st Senior Enlisted Adviser

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Chief Master Sgt. Roger A. Towberman at the Pentagon
Chief Master Sgt. Roger A. Towberman was selected by U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. Raymond to serve as the first senior enlisted advisor of U.S. Space Force during a ceremony at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., Feb. 13, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo/Wayne Clark)

The U.S. Space Force has tapped a top enlisted leader, the first for the newly-minted service.

Chief of Space Operations Gen. John "Jay" Raymond named Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman as his senior enlisted adviser Thursday.

Towberman, who will serve as the advisor to Raymond as well as Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, will transfer to the Space Force next month, making him the second publicly named member of the military's sixth branch.

His official rank is still being determined, as the Space Force has yet to name a rank structure, a defense official told Military.com. However, he may be given a new formal rank of "senior enlisted adviser;" following a policy shift in which Senior Enlisted Adviser to the Chairman was made its own rank last year. A swearing-in ceremony is expected in the coming weeks, according to a news release.

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"Chief Towberman was my clear choice. He is a brilliant warrior who has leadership running through his veins," Raymond said in the release. "He is most passionate about taking care of the enlisted force and their families, and has a way of connecting with the force that is truly remarkable."

According to his biography, Towberman, currently the command senior enlisted leader at U.S. Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, joined the Air Force in 1990.

The 30-year airman previously completed assignments in military intelligence units, serving as the command chief master sergeant for the 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing at Joint Base Langley Eustis, Virginia, and for the now-defunct 25th Air Force, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. (The 25th Air Force and 24th Air Force merged in October 2019 to become the 16th Air Force, specializing in information warfare).

Towberman also served one year at the Pentagon between 2017 and 2018 as the senior enlisted adviser to the assistant secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, his bio states.

Towberman is now tasked with setting the tone and direction for the enlisted corps and addressing issues "regarding the welfare, readiness, morale, proper utilization, and progress of Space Force members and their families," the release states.

"The men and women of the U.S. Space Force are getting one of the best leaders I've ever known," said Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright. "My fellow Senior Enlisted Leaders and I are proud to welcome Chief Roger 'Toby' Towberman to the team as the first senior enlisted advisor of the Space Force. I've seen Toby achieve greatness with innovative leadership and unparalleled compassion for Airmen over the years, and I know he's the right person to help lead our newest branch."

The Space Force, signed into law as the military's newest service just in December, still has a lot to sort out -- including uniforms, an official rank and what to call its members.

Earlier this month, the Pentagon said it had begun crowdsourcing name ideas from individuals already assigned to the fledgling service -- nestled under the Department of the Air Force -- with a very simple question: What would you like to be called?

The Air Force and Space Force on Thursday published another reminder, encouraging troops to submit their opinions -- this time providing a specific website for inputs.

Common access card (CAC) holders with access to the Air Force Portal can submit their ideas online by Feb. 24 to the IdeaScale website, according to a release.

Proposals "must be gender-neutral, distinctive and should emphasize a future-oriented military force," the announcement stressed. Also, the names should be "in good taste," it said.

"Space Force officials will also be reaching out to the Army, Navy and Marine Corps space communities to offer military space professionals in other services the opportunity to submit ideas," officials said.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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