By Katelin Robinson, 1st Lt., U.S. Air Force, Officer, Public Affairs, Space Base Delta 3

Los Angeles Air Force Base (LA AFB) has been a staple of military presence in El Segundo, Calif., for more than 60 years, with a rich history in aerospace research, development and acquisition.

In 2021, the U.S. Space Force (USSF) announced that one of its three major field commands would be headquartered at LA
AFB. The renamed Space System Command (SSC) would be responsible for identifying, prototyping and fielding innovative, space-based solutions to support and meet the demands of the National Defense Strategy. It would also supply oversight and support to science and technology activities in the USSF.

The following year, Los Angeles Garrison, the installation host wing, was renamed to Space Base Delta 3 (SBD3), falling in line with the USSF organizational structure. It provides support services for 2,178 military and civilian employees at LA AFB, as well as its geographically separated units and sister services near and far.

“The base’s presence is central to the economy of El Segundo and the entire South Bay,” said Drew Boyles, El Segundo mayor and the South Bay Cities Council of Government’s (SBCCOG’s) immediate past chair. “Through its presence, the South Bay has long been a draw for those pursuing careers in space and technology. The addition of Space Force positions the region for even further growth in decades to come.”

Col. Mia Walsh, commander, Space Base Delta 3, CMSgt. Sarah Morgan, senior enlisted leader, SBD 3, and Col. Walsh’s daughter Taylor, with City of El Segundo Mayor Drew Boyles at the Los Angeles Air Force Base celebration of the United States Space Force third anniversary on Dec. 20, 2022. The celebration allowed airmen, guardians, civilian personnel, contractors and community leaders to gather in the Schriever Courtyard for a moment to reflect on the service’s rich history, celebrate its barrier-breaking successes, and explore future advancements.

The base is a nexus of the nation and region’s aerospace industry, surrounded within mere blocks by aerospace industry stalwarts such as Northrop Grumman’s Space Park campus, Raytheon Technologies and Boeing Satellite Systems. SpaceX, a company under contract to launch U.S. military satellites, is just five miles away in Hawthorne. The base is also structurally connected by a bridge to the Aerospace Corporation, a federally funded research and development center focused on space that has long worked with the base.

In late 2020 Vice President Mike Pence announced that personnel in the USSF would be called guardians. On July 14, 2022, Col. Mia Walsh became not only the first commander of SBD3, but also the first Space Force guardian to command the support organization. A native of Hilo, Hawaii and 24-year military veteran, Walsh previously served in the United States Air Force and transferred
to the USSF when it was established in 2019, claiming it was a “no-brainer.”

“I have worked in the space domain my entire career as a space operator. When the Space Force stood up, I was excited to cross over and continue supporting space efforts,” Walsh said. “I have already learned so much from this team through their professionalism and enthusiasm to support the mission.”

During her six-month tenure, she has taken part in community outreach activities that include the Rose Parade, El Segundo Holiday Parade, chamber meetings, South Bay Aerospace Alliance meetings and military appreciation events.

“Space Systems Command is an incredible organization that develops resilient space systems for the joint warfighter. One of my top priorities is strengthening relationships within the community, especially since those relationships declined during COVID. We are lucky to have such strong support from the South Bay cities for our military community,” expressed Walsh.

Recently the base hosted a celebration for the USSF’s third birthday and invited community leaders to attend. “Inviting local leaders to participate in our base events and meet our airmen and guardians is what I hope to continue in this new year,” Walsh said. •