It is entirely possible that the Space Force, America’s freshman military service, has completely misread the meaning of the Star Wars trilogy and come to the conclusion that the Intergalactic Empire was actually a shining city on a hill.
Case in point: Maj. Gen. DeAnna Burt was recently sworn in to the Space Force in a ceremony attended by cosplayers who were dressed as Imperial Stormtroopers, an Imperial Guard, Boba Fett, and Darth Vader, according to pictures of the May 7 event at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
None of the aforementioned Star Wars characters can be described as “good guys,” with the possible exception of Darth Vader, whose commitment to increasing lethality is legendary. (In the end, he too was a casualty of the Empire’s failed counterinsurgency strategy.)
The inclusion of Imperial representatives is all the more anachronous considering how quickly the Tennessee Air National Guard moved to punish all involved in a 2018 re-enlistment ceremony that involved a dinosaur sock puppet. But rank hath its privileges.
U.S. Space Force spokesman Mike Pierson explained that the Star Wars reenactors were volunteers from the local community who were helping to celebrate International Space Day at the Combined Space Operations Center.
“The short ceremony where Maj. Gen. Burt was sworn into the Space Force was added to the end of the Space Day celebration,” Pierson said. “The costumed volunteers were not part of the swearing-in ceremony.”
Still, it’s not every day that Boba Fett and Darth Vader end up in an official Defense Department photo showing a general officer joining the military branch in charge of space.
To be fair: It’s understandable that the Space Force might not understand the themes at the heart of the “Star Wars” trilogy, which was George Lucas’ allegory for the Vietnam War. Lucas portrayed the Intergalactic Empire as a colonial power that was unable to defeat the much less technologically advanced rebels. (The Ewoks were analogous to the Viet Cong, only they were intended to be marketed to children because Star Wars merchandise is proof that capitalism always wins in the end.)
On a personal note, this reporter has always wondered what a remake of “Full Metal Jacket” would look like if the Marines were Imperial Stormtroopers. Of course, Yoda would have to play Gunnery Sgt. Hartman: “Numb nuts! What your major malfunction is? Yes!”
“Gouge out your eyeballs and skullf**k you, I will!” “Hmmm!”
But it’s not exactly clear if the military as a whole agrees about who the good guys in “Star Wars” are. A March 2019 Army press release showed U.S. soldiers at a base in East Africa with the Rebel Alliance flag flying in the breeze. (That was before the Pentagon made a list of which flags can be displayed on military installations in a passive-aggressive ban of the Confederate flag.)
In order to find out which side the Defense Department is on, Task & Purpose turned to long-suffering Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on Wednesday, who has bravely answered questions about biting Polish strippers and other topics that this warped reporter gets fixated on.
Here is a partial transcript of the exchange:
Q: Thank you. An Air Force two-star general was sworn in to the Space Force with Imperial Stormtroopers at the ceremony. Does the Defense Department endorse the values of the Intergalactic Empire?
KIRBY: You’re killing me, Smalls.
ANOTHER LONG PAUSE.
Q: Well, I mean, is the Empire really the right image you want to go with the Space Force?
KIRBY: Ah, Jeff: We support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.
So, morally the Defense Department appears to be on the side of the Rebel Alliance. But no one can deny that the Defense Travel System was designed by a Sith Lord.
Featured image: 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)