Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Flores participates in an award ceremony at SMDC headquarters, Peterson Space Force Base, Colo.  Flores transferred into the military's newest branch of service  - the Space Force - on Oct. 1. (Photo by Capt. Ryan Hornung/RELEASED)
Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Flores participates in an award ceremony at SMDC headquarters, Peterson Space Force Base, Colo. Flores transferred into the military's newest branch of service - the Space Force - on Oct. 1. (Photo by Capt. Ryan Hornung/RELEASED) (Photo Credit: Capt. Ryan Hornung) VIEW ORIGINAL

Peterson Space Force Base, Colo.--How often do you come across a Soldier who is promoted in rank and transferred into a new branch of military service on the same day?

Answer: Never. Well, never say never, but if there is someone else reading this article that is in the same boat, or knows of someone in a similar situation, let me know, because it’s very rare.

The last week of September Sgt. 1st Class (E-7) Raymond Flores was in the Army. The first week of October he became a Senior Master Sgt. (E-8) in the military’s newest branch of service - the Space Force.

Flores, a satellite systems communications operator by Army trade, is the training noncommissioned officer-in-charge for the Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command’s 53rd Signal Battalion, which will soon be transferred over to the Space Force.

“It’s exciting,” Flores said of his transfer. “We are making history and doing something that hasn’t been done since the U.S. Army Air Corps branched away from the Army and made itself the Air Force. It’s an exciting time in history.”

With more than 13 years under his belt in the Army, Flores said he will miss the nation’s oldest service branch, but looks forward to joining its newest.

“It’s going to be a culture change going from how we do things in the Army to how things operate in the Space Force,” Flores said. “I’m going to help them build who they are and how they run things.”

The most obvious difference in transferring right off the bat for Flores was the uniform change, although the Space Force’s utility uniform is the same as the Army’s, just with different patches. The dress uniform is a different animal though, think Air Force blues with temporary Space Force lapel pins while the new branch finalizes the design.

Flores also had to accustom himself to the new rank and insignia, which are still in transition from the Air Force. The Space Force’s newly-released service-specific enlisted insignias are so new they’re not even available for purchase yet.

As far as his job in the 53rd, as well as the 53rd’s mission set - payload control for the Wideband Global SATCOM system - nothing will change there, but the term “battalion” will be dropped from the name, replaced with “Space Operations Squadron,” sometime in the coming fiscal year.

Flores said he’s looking forward to blending his skills and experience from the Army with those of the Guardians he’s joined in the Space Force.

Flores said the biggest takeaway from his years in the Army is the esprit de corps among his fellow Soldiers and serving with some of the best people he has ever met. Putting the mission before oneself, the camaraderie in a tight-knit unit and leading Soldiers, have all been highlights of Flores’ time in the Army.

Nine of his 13 years have been spent overseas, both in Germany and Japan, but he is staying put at Fort Carson, Colorado, for now, with the new transfer.

Starting in fiscal year 2022, the Department of the Army will transfer the satellite payload, planning, management and control mission of the 53rd Signal Brigade to the U.S. Space Force.

“I will be making sure the battalion transfers over into a squadron seamlessly,” Flores said. “It’s humbling, and an honor to be a part of history as the first Soldiers to transition into the Space Force. We are laying the foundation for everyone to come and I’m excited to take on something new in my career and see where it takes me.”

The transfer includes the five Wideband Satellite Communications Operations Centers, four regional satellite communications support centers, Consolidated Satellite Communications Systems Experts, and 502 associated manpower authorizations.

SMDC will continue to support the SATOPS transition and Soldiers with administration and training through the fiscal year.