Florida leaders urge Air Force to select Space Coast as home for STARCOM

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — The U.S. Space Force is the newest branch of the armed services, and, to fulfill its mission, thousands of new recruits will need to be trained.

Some of that training is already underway at a temporary facility, but state officials want the permanent home for the Space Training Readiness Command (STARCOM) to be located on Florida’s space coast.

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.), along with Representatives Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) and other colleagues, have sent a letter asking Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall to select Florida for the new facility.

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Read: Space Florida works to bring U.S. Space Force training operations to Florida

“Patrick SFB and Cape Canaveral SFS hold a unique place in America’s history of space flight and exploration,” the lawmakers wrote.

The letter goes on to highlight Florida’s long history in the space industry.

“Every crewed mission to space in our nation’s history has launched from Brevard County, Florida. From Apollo, to the Space Shuttle, and the future Artemis missions, Florida has served as our nation’s gateway to the stars. NASA and DoD formed significant bonds with the local community, private industry, and academic institutions for more than half a century.”

Read: Central Florida counties join the Space Force HQ race

Dale Ketcham with Space Florida said leaders need to show that Brevard County and surrounding areas are uniquely situated to handle such a mission.

“The Florida delegation is making a concerted effort to make sure the Space Force and the Air Force, which is making this decision, (are) acutely aware of the capability, not just now, but more importantly (as) the capabilities evolve,” Ketcham said.

On April 4, the Department of the Air Force selected six possible locations for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Training and Readiness Command Headquarters.

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The six bases currently under consideration are Buckley, Peterson and Schriever Space Force bases in Colorado; Los Angeles Air Force Base and Vandenberg SFB in California; and Patrick SFB in Florida.

The Department of the Air Force said it will begin site surveys in late April or early May of 2022.

There has been no date given as to when a final decision will be made.

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Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.