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Marines bring in Air Force reservist for space expertise

Photo of a gift presentation from a Marine commander to an Air Force captain.

Air Force Reserve Capt. Jesse Diaz, a Space Electronic Support Liaison Officer attached to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, receives a trident from Col. Robert Brodie, the 31st MEU Commanding Officer, for his efforts aboard the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) during routine patrol operations in the Pacific, April 8, 2020. Diaz is assigned to the 380th Space Control Squadron at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, and spent 73 days aboard the ship enhancing the space capabilities of the 31st MEU. (Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Isaac Cantrell)


After spending more than a year learning about the space domain from the 16th Expeditionary Space Control Flight out of Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit reached out to the 380th Space Control Squadron, the Reserve associate unit to the 16th SPCS, seeking an experienced officer to serve as a liaison during a deployment in the Indo-Pacific Region.

Capt. Jesse Diaz, assigned to the 380th SPCS, was that officer and became the first Air Force Reserve space officer to deploy with the 31st MEU. Diaz spent 73 days aboard the USS America, a U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship, as part of a joint space integration proof of concept earlier this year. 

“From his very first day with the 31st MEU Capt. Diaz integrated and coordinated with several sections in our unit and assisted with planning for the deployment across multiple Marine Warfighting functions,” said Marine Capt. Stephen Potts, a 31st MEU intelligence officer who worked with Diaz. “His thorough knowledge and understanding of the space domain and its capabilities directly increased mission-effectiveness throughout the deployment. He also assisted building resident knowledge within the unit for continued utilization.”

Diaz says “space is a war-fighting domain that the U.S. must maintain superiority in. To do that, we as space operators, need to provide our joint partners with flexibly and versatility in our deployed space electronic support capabilities.”

He said this unique experience provided a two-way learning opportunity for himself and the Marines.

“I was able to learn Marine warfare functions while introducing space electronic warfare,” said Diaz. “This experience provided critical insight for the space community and will further the development of space integration.”

The 31st MEU is discussing bringing on another space officer because of the value Diaz’ specialized skill set provided and highlighted the benefits of having a residence subject-matter expert available in person.

“Capt. Diaz will always be a valued member of the 31st MEU team,” said Potts. “His unique understanding as a U.S. Air Force space officer of how the unit operates will support the joint relationship between the 31st MEU, 380th SPCS and the 16th ESPCF.”

The 31st MEU, is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to enhance interoperability with allies and partners and serve as a ready response force to defend peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

The 380th SPCS and its Regular Air Force associate, the 16th SPCS, provide combat-ready forces to deploy and employ Space Electronic Support for theater combatant commanders.