The Air Force has "airmen." The Department of the Navy has "sailors" and "Marines." The Army is filled with "soldiers." Members of the Coast Guard are referred to as "Coast Guardsmen" by the media (and "Coasties" by their brothers and sisters in arms).
What are we going to call members of the Space Force?
An obvious problem (one that everyone reading this will already be considering) is that terms such as "spaceman" and "space cadet" have been used as derogatory references for so long that we can't use them. And we can't just call them "Spaceys," can we?
The Air Force is also flummoxed by this problem. It has even considered passing the buck (also known as "blame") by crowdsourcing ideas on how to refer to members of the newest branch.
But we all know that just leads us down the dark path to "Spacy McSpaceForce."
Vice Commander of the U.S. Space Force, Lt. Gen. David Thompson, said the service wanted to get the opinion of "the people who matter." Officials also wanted the input of current active-duty airmen because the Space Force will be a department of the Air Force, just as the Marine Corps is a department of the Navy.
Insert "Men's Department" joke here.
Here are a few suggestions for monikers and nicknames for the members of the U.S. Space Force.
Laugh all you want, (we'll wait)... The Latin root for "sea" is "mar-" and that's why the Navy hauls arounds "Marines" instead of "seamen." The Latin root for "space" comes from "spatium," hence the suggestion for calling Space Forcers "Spatines."
This one should have been obvious, but it wasn't because it sounds ridiculous. Still, if the other, new "Department of the Air Force" wants to act like they're the other "Department of the Navy," here's where the tradition starts.
2. Space Forcemen
This also follows in the tradition of names we already use. If the Coast Guard is full of Coast Guardsmen, why wouldn't the Space Force be full of Space Forcemen? We can all call them "Forcies," pretending they're cool with that, and the Coast Guard can joke about how it's not a real branch of the military.
It's not gender-neutral, however.
3. Space Marines
This would purely be for recruiting purposes -- if there's ever a need for a space-borne infantry. As of right now, that need doesn't exist. According to Maj. Gen. Clinton Crosier, there are 16 Air Force specialties that will be going to the Space Force, and none of them sound like anything close to extra-terrestrial ground-pounders.
4. "Mars Bars"
This is what Space Forcemen can use to derisively refer to company-grade Space Force officers. You heard it here first.
5. Spatial Operators
Space is where they operate. It's descriptive, gender-neutral and it sounds cool. Any space shuttle door gunner is definitely going to be a spatial operator.
6. Thunder Children
Ok, this suggestion seems kind of ridiculous -- and it might be -- but it's no more absurd than the U.S. Navy naming the first nuclear submarine "Nautilus." That name was borrowed from French author Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," which featured an advanced underwater ship.
In English author H.G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds," the HMS Thunder Child is a British torpedo ram that continues fighting the invading Martians to save fleeing humans -- even in the face of certain death.
Again, it's not gender-neutral, but it's descriptive! An apogee is the furthest distance that the satellite can have from the Earth. Since Space Forcers will be fighting battles farther from the Earth than ever before, "Apogeemen" is a fitting nickname.
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