BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — The U.S. Space Force will soon have a new second lieutenant, selected out of Bowling Green State University's Air Force ROTC program.
Anthony Laurio, a 2021 graduate, will enter the USSF as a second lieutenant through the university's Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps Detachment 620, BGSU announced Friday.
Laurio graduated from Vermillion High School in 2018. At BGSU, he joined the AFROTC program, which prepares college students to enter the Air Force as officers after graduation.
The newly-established Space Force doesn't have its own ROTC branch just yet, so AFROTC cadets can join as an officer after graduation, if accepted.
When two positions opened for the Space Force, Laurio gave it a shot and applied for both. While he wasn't picked for the first one he applied for, he was accepted for the second.
BGSU AFROTC commander Lt. Col. David Garon surprised him with the news.
“We were at our morning physical training meeting and we had found out what our jobs were going to be,” Laurio said. “And my commander was like ‘OK, we’re all done,’ and started walking away. He stopped and went ‘Oh, I forgot: Laurio, you’re going to be in the Space Force!’ It was kind of surreal and everyone got excited to find out I was going to be the first out of BGSU; it’s absolutely incredible. I’m very humbled to be selected for this.”
Laurio will join other Guardians and specialize in computer systems as a developmental engineer at the Los Angeles Air Force Base. His degree in software engineering will assist in acquiring and developing new computer systems for the youngest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.
In December 2019, Air Force Space Command was re-designated as the USSF, creating the seventh branch of the Armed Forces and the first new branch since the Air Force itself, 73 years ago.
“Growing up, I’d always been interested in space,” Laurio said. “Last year, we found out there was a possibility to join the Space Force, so I decided to go for it. Next thing I know, I was getting picked up. It’s really great to get in on the ground floor of a brand new military branch; that’s very rare.”
Garon said Laurio is forging the path for future Guardians.
"I think we have a great opportunity here to take those kids and all the outstanding talent that we have here in northwest Ohio and prepare them for the Space Force," Garon told WTOL 11.
"Your TV, your phones, banking and financing, the weather. I mean, all of that stuff is controlled by satellites and if that were to ever be taken away from us it could have a major impact on the American way of life," Laurio added.
Laurio's work will take place on Planet Earth for now, but he hopes not forever.
"That's definitely on my bucket list," he told WTOL 11. "I don't see it happening probably anytime soon or even while I may be in the Space Force, but some time in my life I would like to end up in space."
In the meantime, he'll keep his eyes to the sky and soak in the experience.
"I didn't really know what I was getting myself into," he said. "With it being a new branch and being so young, which only ever happens so often, it's really kind of the sky is the limit on this one."