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Delta 3, folded in tradition

PETERSON SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. – U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Brandon Whittaker, High Frontier Ceremonial Guardsman, folds an American flag during a Space Delta 3 – Space Electromagnetic Warfare pre-deployment-flag-folding ceremony at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, 2022. Flags folded at these ceremonies are flown during deployment by members from DEL 3. DEL 3’s ceremonial tradition of folding flags to bring on deployment, dates back over 20 years to the 76th Space Control Squadron. (U.S. Space Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Edwards)

PETERSON SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. – U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Brandon Whittaker, High Frontier Ceremonial Guardsman, folds an American flag during a Space Delta 3 – Space Electromagnetic Warfare pre-deployment-flag-folding ceremony at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, 2022. Flags folded at these ceremonies are flown during deployment by members from DEL 3. DEL 3’s ceremonial tradition of folding flags to bring on deployment, dates back over 20 years to the 76th Space Control Squadron. (U.S. Space Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Edwards)

PETERSON SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. – --

Space Delta 3 – Space Electromagnetic Warfare’s tradition of folding flags, to be taken on their team’s deployments dates, back over 20 years to one of DEL 3’s predecessor, the 76th Space Control Squadron.

During this ceremony, the audience observes members of the High Frontier honor guard folding an American flag 13 times before presenting it to the Delta 3 commander. The commander then presents this folded flag to the deployment commander, standing with their team to be flown during their deployment.

“DEL 3 performs this ceremony to symbolize the charge on our troops to carry out the missions they were trained for, while holding our Nation’s symbol close to us,” said U.S. Space Force Maj. Gerardo Lopez, Space Delta 3 - Space Electromagnetic Warfare, Commander’s Action group chief.

Ceremonies like this are a way to gather family and friends with their units to celebrate and honor their team before they are sent downrange to defend our nation. Bringing everyone together further fosters the community our units have, giving leadership and key spouses another chance to check in with deployers and their families to make sure they have and continue to receive all the support they need during the upcoming deployment.

“By conducting a flag folding ceremony, our Guardians take the time to honor our nation's most iconic symbol,” said U.S. Space Force Capt Victoria Garcia, DEL 3, Mission Planning cell chief.  “This [ceremony] personally signifies a passing responsibility, authority, and accountability, coupled with expectations of performance, which marks the uniqueness of command.”

The flags are taken with the deployment team and it is flown over their location, taken with them outside the wire, carried on convoys and hung in their operations floor. Once the deployed team returns, the flag is retired, encased in a shadow box and displayed in their heritage hallway with all of the other deployment flags.

“The flag is a symbol of liberty and has carried the inspirational message of freedom to Americans, at home and abroad,” said Lopez.

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