Step into the Guardian Arena

US Space Force | Dec. 13, 2023

By John E. Ayre

Chief of Space Operations U.S. Space Force Gen. Chance Saltzman and Chief Master Sgt. of the Space Force, Chief John Bentivegna, pose with the Guardian Arena winning team, Team Great Eight from Delta 8, at the Space Force Association Spacepower Conference in Orlando, Fla., Dec. 12. From left: Saltzman, 1st Lt. Stephen Brown, Royal Australian Navy Lieutenant Angus Gaudry, 1st Lt. Sara Burton, Dillan Paschall, Capt. Alexander Colla and Bentivegna. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Adam Shanks)
U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman and Chief Master Sgt. of the Space Force John Bentivegna pose with the Guardian Arena winning team, Team Great Eight from Delta 8, at the Space Force Association Spacepower Conference in Orlando, Fla., Dec. 12. From left: Saltzman, 1st Lt. Stephen Brown, Royal Australian Navy Lt. Angus Gaudry, 1st Lt. Sara Burton, Dillan Paschall, Capt. Alexander Colla and Bentivegna. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Adam Shanks)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, FL.: One hundred Guardians, Airmen, civilians and international partners took one small step and one giant leap during the inaugural Guardian Arena at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla., Dec 10-11.

Guardian Arena is a history-making, two-day event, consisting of 11 stations that challenge participants, who were broken up into teams, in the skills of problem solving, knowledge, and physical strength to improve camaraderie, instill esprit de corps, and provide an opportunity to operationalize the Guardian Ideal and Guardian Spirit in a healthy competition.

“Today as you step onto the field of play, it’s going to be difficult, it’s going to be tough. Guardian Arena was meant to challenge you as a team,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Space Force John F. Bentivegna during opening remarks. “ Understand the strengths you each have, think critically and amplify the Guardian Spirit.”

Guardians participate in the Guardian Arena 23 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Museum at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, Dec. 11, 2023. Teams of five members, consisting of United States Space Force officers, enlisted, government civilians, and USSF assigned Airmen, participated in a combined operation consisting of knowledge tests, problem solving exercises, and a physical challenge. The inaugural Guardian Arena instilled esprit de corps and provided an opportunity to dive into operationalizing the Guardian Ideal, Guardian Spirit, and Guardian Commitment. (U.S. Space Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Becker)
Guardians participate in the Guardian Arena 23 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Museum at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, Dec. 11, 2023. Teams of five members, consisting of United States Space Force officers, enlisted, government civilians, and USSF assigned Airmen, participated in a combined operation consisting of knowledge tests, problem solving exercises, and a physical challenge. The inaugural Guardian Arena instilled esprit de corps and provided an opportunity to dive into operationalizing the Guardian Ideal, Guardian Spirit, and Guardian Commitment. (U.S. Space Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Becker)
Members of the team from Delta 8 pose for a photo during the Guardian Arena event at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, Dec. 10, 2023. Teams of five members, consisting of U.S. Space Force officers, enlisted, government civilians, and USSF assigned Airmen, participated in a combined operation consisting of knowledge tests, problem solving exercises, and a physical challenge. The inaugural Guardian Arena instilled esprit de corps and provided an opportunity to dive into operationalizing the Guardian Ideal, Guardian Spirit, and Guardian Commitment. (U.S. Space Force photo by Airman 1st Class Spencer Contreras)
Members of the team from Delta 8 pose for a photo during the Guardian Arena event at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, Dec. 10, 2023. Teams of five members, consisting of U.S. Space Force officers, enlisted, government civilians, and USSF assigned Airmen, participated in a combined operation consisting of knowledge tests, problem solving exercises, and a physical challenge. The inaugural Guardian Arena instilled esprit de corps and provided an opportunity to dive into operationalizing the Guardian Ideal, Guardian Spirit, and Guardian Commitment. (U.S. Space Force photo by Airman 1st Class Spencer Contreras)
Guardians participate in the Guardian Arena 23 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Museum at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, Dec. 11, 2023. Teams of five members, consisting of United States Space Force officers, enlisted, government civilians, and USSF assigned Airmen, participated in a combined operation consisting of knowledge tests, problem solving exercises, and a physical challenge. The inaugural Guardian Arena instilled esprit de corps and provided an opportunity to dive into operationalizing the Guardian Ideal, Guardian Spirit, and Guardian Commitment. (U.S. Space Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Becker)
Guardians participate in the Guardian Arena 23 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Museum at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, Dec. 11, 2023. Teams of five members, consisting of United States Space Force officers, enlisted, government civilians, and USSF assigned Airmen, participated in a combined operation consisting of knowledge tests, problem solving exercises, and a physical challenge. The inaugural Guardian Arena instilled esprit de corps and provided an opportunity to dive into operationalizing the Guardian Ideal, Guardian Spirit, and Guardian Commitment. (U.S. Space Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Becker)

Twenty teams representing individual field commands, space base deltas, space launch deltas, and space deltas pushed head-to-head to see their team come out on top.

“As a brand-new service, we’re making history” said Bentivegna. “Make no mistake about it, today you are making history. You are setting a foundation for Guardian Arenas that will come year after year.”

Chief of Space Operations U.S. Space Force Gen. Chance Saltzman along with Bentivegna announced the Guardian Arena winning teams during a keynote speech at the Space Force Association Spacepower Conference, Dec. 12.

The winners:
1st – Delta 8 “The Great Eight”
2nd – Delta 13 “The Lucky 13s”
3rd – Delta 4 “Oculus Mundi”

Guardians rely on their character and connection with fellow Guardians in pursuit of the Space Force mission with commitment and courage.

“When you were faced with the challenges you were committed to finishing all 11 grueling stations.” said Bentivegna “You made connections every step of the way, which underpins everything we do. You amplify the character of the Guardian Spirit.”

As the Space Force continues to grow and evolve, building its unique culture and identity in the process, Guardian Arena reflects that evolution and serves as a platform to build a bond in the pursuit of security in the space domain.