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The newest branch of the American military just celebrated its second birthday with what may very well be the saddest cake in the history of warfare.

The cake in question was photographed at the U.S. Space Force’s congressional birthday event on Dec. 2. This no-frills pastry featured the Space Force’s seal – the Pentagon’s homage to the “Star Trek” universe – along with the words “Happy Birthday.”

Typically, military services feature an elaborate cake cutting ceremony as part of their birthday celebrations as a shoutout to their traditions and esprit de corps. As the youngest military branch, the Space Force is at somewhat of a disadvantage since its traditions date back to that seminal year of 2019.

Still, this reporter has attended going away events for former employees whom no one liked that featured more ornate cakes than the one the Space Force got from Congress.

Indeed: Instead of inspiring libations for the branch of the military responsible for space, the cake instead draws a symbolic link between the Space Force and the cold, vast, emptiness of the cosmos, where no one can hear you sing “Happy birthday.”

This Space Force birthday cake is bleak and empty, much like space itself
Chief of Space Force Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond unveils the U.S. Space Forces Service Dress prototype during the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference at National Harbor, Md., Sept. 21, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Areca T. Wilson)

Pictures on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, the military’s video and photo database, show two other Space Force cake cutting ceremonies that appear as festive as being audited by the IRS.

Altogether, these cake pictures reveal the Space Force needs to do a lot more to explain to members of the general public why they should care about the service’s existence.

The Space Force is undoubtedly the least appreciated branch of the military. The service is charged with protecting American satellites, which would likely be attacked as part of the first shots in World War III.

Former President Donald Trump’s decision to create a branch of the military focused exclusively on space as a warfighting domain is without a doubt one of the greatest strategic achievements of his administration. It put the U.S. military in a much better position to fend off China and Russia, which the Pentagon is worried might explode a nuclear weapon in space to destroy U.S. satellites.

Yet when it comes to tooting its own horn, the Space Force is notoriously tone deaf. The service has opened itself to ridicule nearly every time it has tried to put its best foot forward: From its badly tailored dress uniform prototypes – which were lampooned on a recent “South Park” episode – to its decision to name its members “Guardians,” the Space Force’s efforts at self-promotion have failed fantastically.

This Space Force birthday cake is bleak and empty, much like space itself
Maj. Gen. DeAnna Burt, Combined Force Space Component Command commander, is sworn in to the U.S. Space Force by Second Lt. Wellington Brookins, a U.S. Space Force officer assigned to the 533rd Training Squadron, during an International Space Day celebration May 7, 2021, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Space Force photo by Michael Peterson)

In May, the Space Force gave an odd shout out to Imperial Stormtroopers that was strangely on brand for a service that seems to have taken the wrong lessons from the Star Wars trilogy.

Perhaps the Space Force should take a cue from the Marine Corps, which has faced no shortage of questions about whether it’s necessary, yet has managed to win the public’s admiration, in addition to being able to throw a hell of a birthday party.

But hey, the terrible twos aren’t easy, and unlike the other services who have been around for a while, the Space Force is just getting started. So, sad cake or not — and it is a very sad cake — let’s wish America’s newest military branch a very happy birthday, and an even better one next year.

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