NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – History has been made. The first U.S. Space Force Guardian received an Arctic Service Medal.

Captain Henry Cho spent 21 freezing cold days in the Arctic aboard the U.S. Coast Guard’s largest vessel.

“I never imagined I’d have this opportunity when I joined the Space Force, but it’s humbling to pave the way forward for my fellow Guardians,” Cho said. “I appreciate the opportunity to travel and see the spectacular views of the Arctic region onboard the Healy while assisting with monitoring our experiment onboard.”

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Captain Cho is currently stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base. He transferred from the Air Force to the Space Force in 2021, saying he loves traveling and taking risks.

“I decided to join the military for a variety of complicated reasons, but I had the maturity to realize I had more growing up to do,” Cho said. “At the time, I wanted a sense of adventure, but I also felt like I was out of options. There is a higher level of satisfaction when life circumstances choose for you than if you were presented with multiple pathways and wondered what could have been in the other paths. Looking back, joining the military was the best decision I could have made because it supported personal and professional development that I could not have found anywhere else.”

The Arctic Service Medal is awarded to members who serve in a Coast Guard mission north of the Arctic Circle. The minimum time requirement is 21 non-consecutive days.