Gen. John Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, in 2021.

Gen. John Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, in 2021. Lisa Ferdinando / DOD

The Space Force Has a Song

The song honors the “invisible front line” of warfighters keeping watch “beyond the blue.”

The Space Force has a song, and it doesn’t mention the aliens, intergalactic horse rides, or planetary conquests that were the signature of the many parodies that have plagued the service for nearly three years. 

The 40-word song was unveiled Tuesday at the Air and Space Forces Association’s Air, Space & Cyber conference outside Washington, D.C., by Gen. John Raymond, the Space Force’s first, and soon-to-retire, chief of space operations. 

The song, “Semper Supra,” was named after the Space Force’s motto, which is Latin for “always above.” Two musicians with ties to the military collaborated to create the song. James Techenor, a former member of the Air Force band at the Air Force Academy, wrote the song and melody. The musical arrangement was done by Sean Nelson, a member of the U.S. Coast Guard band.

Raymond debuted the song with a lyric video, a live military band performance, and a chorus on stage to sing the lyrics, which harken to the service’s commitment to keep watch on objects in orbit:

We’re the mighty watchful eye,

Guardians beyond the blue.

The invisible front line,

Warfighters brave and true.

Boldly reaching into space,

There’s no limit to our sky.

Standing guard both night and day,

We’re the Space Force from on high.

“Semper Supra” replaces a bit of “The Invincible Eagle,” a 1901 John Philip Sousa march, that has since 2020 been used by military bands at events when all the service branches require musical representation.

But there have been several songs suggested—earnestly or with tongue in cheek—for the newest branch of the service.

In 2020, Miami-based Voices of Freedom offered “The United States Space Force Anthem,” a 4-minute, 26-second march that did not stint on its ambitions for the young service: “To the Moon / to Mars / into space / far beyond!”

Many of the proposed songs took a funny take on the military’s newest branch while ignoring the fact that the service’s mission is based on the ground, not shooting lasers among the stars. “Space Force” by the Dan McDonnell Band included lyrics like “Prepared for combat with an alien race / to kick their asses right in the face.”

And of course, there’s the wordless and surprisingly wistful opening theme to “Space Force,” the two-seasons-and-counting Netflix comedy starring Steve Carell and John Malkovich. “A good portion of the show's soundtrack is made up of songs that the character sings when things get a little too overwhelming,” critic Martha Sorren wrote in Refinery29.

Listen to “Semper Supra,” as recorded on a cellphone in the back of a packed conference room, here, or as presented on DVIDS with a video introduction by Raymond, here.