BY BRANDY TEMPLETON
As commander of the 98th Space Range Squadron Delta 11 of the U.S. Space Force, Lt. Col. Matt Bejcek works to protect and defend American interests in space.
The Statesville native spent some time on Saturday discussing his career journey with members of American Legion Auxiliary Post 65.
The Space Force was created during the Trump administration on December 20, 2019. The first new branch of the military added since 1947, it was created due to a need for space security.
“It evolved out of a very healthy and vibrant Air Force,” Bejcek said while detailing his career journey.
As a child, he was fascinated by airplanes and often attended air shows with his parents.
“We would go to other states, like Ohio,” Bejcek recalled. “I loved seeing the Blue Angels.”
After high school, he attended North Carolina State University, where he joined their Air Force ROTC and was a part of the N.C. State Detachment 595.
Bejcek left Raleigh in 2004 with an engineering degree, but was disheartened to not be able to become an Air Force pilot.
“I was disqualified because I didn’t have depth perception, “ he shared.
However, that didn’t stop Bejcek from pushing forward. He spent the next 15 years serving in the USAF.
In 2005, he moved to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and then on to FE Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming.
In 2010 Bejcek was transferred to Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado, where he spent four years until being sent to Ramstein Air Base in Germany. For the next three years, Bejcek was focused on building his rank and becoming better at his position.
Then in 2017, while at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, Bejcek was presented with a new challenge, but wasn’t told what it was.
“It was a secret,” Bejcek said. “I could either stay with what I was doing or go for it.”
He went for it in 2019, and found himself working at the Pentagon.
“There’s 30,000 people there on a daily basis,” Bejcek said. “You can’t imagine how many people that it is in one place. It was eye-opening, illuminating, but very frustrating.”
Transferred to Qatar’s Al Udeid Air Base, he was moved into his new position for the new military force. Then it was back to the Pentagon in 2021, and now he’s back at Schriever.
Being one of the smallest military branches, Space Force recruits the best of the best, requiring a college degree, commissioning, and those with backgrounds in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
“We need people— domain experts, those that hone concepts and tactics, equipment builders,” he said.
Bejcek said it’s an essential military branch even though its members are not involved in typical combat operations.
“We’re living in a hostile world that can attack us from space, satellite, cyber,” he said. “We need this separate military area to deal with all these demands and challenges.“
Bejcek said that because of foreign threats, the stability in space is in jeopardy.
“The (People’s Liberation Army) PLA from China can damage our satellites. It’s coming, it’s real,” he said.
Bejcek is proud of his position and plans to continue serving.
“It is an honor to serve,” he said. “We’ve got a long ways to go, but we’re getting after it.”