Savannah native becomes one of first commissioned cadets for US Space Force


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Gregory Soukhamneut is one of the first cadets to commission into the United States Space Force (USSF), the newest branch of the armed services President Donald Trump established in December.

Soukhamneut, a Savannah native, is a graduate of Benedictine Military School and the United States Air Force Academy, where he was in the top 10 percent of his class in athletics and military performance.

“Nobody knows what to expect,” the second lieutenant said. “At least, not all of us who just commissioned into the Space Force.

“I’m a little bit nervous for the same reason because nobody knows what to expect.”

USSF wasn’t his first choice, but because of his background in systems engineering, they commissioned him to be among the first 86 cadets.

“It feels like it should feel awesome to have been chosen, but because it wasn’t the number one choice, it was like ‘well okay, I guess this is the path I’m going down now,’” Soukhamneut said.

“And then when we graduated from the Air Force Academy, we wore different colored sashes and we were almost separated,” he added. “So there was a different section for the Space Force and then the rest of the Air Force Academy cadets.”

Soukhamneut’s father says he’s proud that his son is a part of the historic launch of the new branch — the first since the Air Force was created in 1947.

“We really don’t know what to expect or what they’re going to do,” Air Soukhamneut said. “I’m pretty confident in the leadership of General Raymond.”

Soukhamneut will report to Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California.

While at Benedictine Military School, Soukhamneut was a four-year member of the JROTC and was a starting member of the 2014 AA State Championship Football team. He lettered as a member of both the football and wrestling team and served as co-captain of the wrestling team.

Soukhamneut says his time at Benedictine helped prepare him for his next assignment in the USSF.

“Our son commissioning into there and creating something new, it’s exciting that we get to bring that little piece of history to Savannah and to share that with the local community,” his mother Christy Soukhamneut said.

Although he doesn’t know what to expect from his new assignment, Soukhamneut says he’s excited to work hard and help the new branch have a strong start.

“It’s a great thing that we’ve created a new department, the Space Force, and that it’s going to increase the level of security that we have for the United States,” Soukhamneut said. “Having a force dedicated to space, which is the next domain that we need to be able to dominate.”

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