New member of U.S. Space Force sworn in at USC Aiken planetarium

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Aug. 5—The DuPont Planetarium at USC Aiken usually hosts programs about space, but on Thursday, it was the scene for another space-related action.

Tim Wightman, who was at Fort Gordon in Augusta, took his oath of enlistment to join the United States Space Force. The U.S. Space Force is the newest branch of the military, and was created in December 2019 when the National Defense Authorization Act was signed into law.

The Space Force became the first new branch of the military in over 70 years.

Wightman is joining the Space Force after 19 years with the U.S. Navy, with almost three of them being spent at Fort Gordon. While in the Navy, he held several roles.

"I started working on helicopters, and then I was a Navy journalist; and then I went into the intel field, and that's where I've been for the last 10 or so years," Wightman said.

As for why he wanted to join the Space Force, Wightman said it was because he saw it as a new opportunity since it's the first new military branch in over seven decades.

"I get to try to catch on and see if I can help build a new culture, taking everything I knew from the Navy and mixing in some other things," Wightman said. "I just found it a very exciting prospect, and I can still do a lot of things I'm doing for the Navy, but do them in a different capacity."

Army Col. Perry Wong administered the oath to Wightman and spoke about what type of man he is and how he will be missed.

"He's taken his oath many times, a handful of times, he's just reaffirming it," Wong said. "This time he's departing the Navy and joining the Space Force. That's cool, that's awesome, new chapter in his life."

When it came to take his oath, Wightman said he wanted to do something interesting and someone mentioned a planetarium. He liked that idea and after searching, found the DuPont Planetarium at USC Aiken and went from there.

"I'm just really excited about this new adventure that I have coming," Wightman said. "It's mysterious. I've been in the Navy for 19 years; and I know what that's all about, the culture, and I've enjoyed almost all of it, especially my shipmates. I'm really excited about all the things I'm going to learn and the new mission I'm going to do for my country."

Wightman and his family left Friday for his new assignment in Colorado Springs, Colorado. While there he will again work in intel, he said.

"I want to thank my family," Wightman said. "We've done this a bunch of times, moving is part of the military; but each new time you do it, it becomes a little bit more significant because the kids get older and more challenges emerge. My family has been really resilient, and I want to thank my wife especially for how she's stood by me all these years and what a great support she is."