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Semper Supra (march)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Semper Supra
English: Always Above

Organizational anthem of the
United States Space Force
LyricsJames Teachenor, 2022
MusicJames Teachenor and Sean Nelson, 2022
Adopted2022; 1 year ago (2022)

"Semper Supra" (Latin for 'always above') is the official march of the United States Space Force, composed in 2022 by James Teachenor and Sean Nelson.

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"Semper Supra" is named after the U.S. Space Force's official motto, Semper Supra.[1] After the creation of the U.S. Space Force on December 20, 2019, United States Air Force Senior Airman Daniel Sanchez – who researched the mottos of other military branches and chose "Semper Supra" because of both its ease of pronunciation and the alliteration of both the Latin phrase and its English translation "Always Above" – proposed the motto,[2] and the U.S. Space Force officially adopted it on July 22, 2020.[3]


James Teachenor (left) and Sean Nelson (right).
Members of the United States Air Force Band and a guest singer give the first public performance of "Semper Supra" at National Harbor, Maryland, on September 20, 2022.

Singer-songwriter James Teachenor, a former member of the United States Air Force Band at the United States Air Force Academy, wrote the lyrics and composed the melody for Semper Supra.[1][4] Upon the creation of the Space Force in December 2019, he began working with the Chief of Space Operations, General John W. "Jay" Raymond, to start the process of writing the song.[1] He explained, "The song was a long work in progress because I wanted it to encompass all the capabilities that the Space Force offers and its vision."[1][4]

Teachenor sent the melody and lyrics to various U.S. military bands for them to suggest arrangements and finishing touches,[1][4] and the bands submitted 12 different arrangements for consideration.[1] Teachenor then collaborated with Chief Musician Sean Nelson, a trombonist and staff arranger with the United States Coast Guard Band.[1][4] Nelson completed the song with harmonies and orchestration, adding more than 30 instrumental parts.[1] "I became familiar with the other branches' songs, but I wanted this one to have its own modern spin to reflect what the Space Force is – modern, new, and very advanced," Nelson said.[1][4] The U.S. Coast Guard Band recorded Nelson's arrangement of the song for review by the Space Force.[1] After months of coordination between the Space Force and Coast Guard Band to further develop and revise the song and variations of it, the Space Force chose the final version of "Semper Supra."[1]

The song was unveiled in a public performance by members of the U.S. Air Force Band and a guest singer on September 20, 2022, during a speech Raymond gave at the 2022 Air & Space Forces Association Air, Space and Cyber Conference at National Harbor, Maryland.[5] In announcing the Space Force's adoption of the song as its service anthem, Raymond explained, "We wanted a song that spoke to our guardians [the Space Force's term for its personnel], that brought to life our motto, 'Semper Supra.' And it all comes together into something that I hope guardians around the world will be proud of."[6] Raymond added, "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to establish a Space Force song that will be part of our culture and heritage for years to come. Our traditions are part of the fabric that weave us all together as we execute our missions side-by-side;[1][4] I will be proud to sing 'Semper Supra' alongside my fellow guardians."[1]

In announcing the selection of the song, the United States Department of the Air Force stated, "It was created to capture the esprit de corps of both current and future Guardians, and intends to bring together service members by giving them a sense of pride."[1]


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.[4]


Teachenor and Nelson gifted "Semper Supra" and the copyright to its music and lyrics to the U.S. Department of the Air Force, which is the exclusive owner of the copyright.[1]

Critical reviews

Immediate media reaction to the song was mixed. On September 22, 2022, Stephen Thompson on All Things Considered on NPR commented, "My immediate thought went to Team America: World Police. (...) Or like something out of, like, a G.I. Joe cartoon."[7] A New York Times article on September 21, 2022, commented that while trying to "shoot for the stars," the musical number leaves something to be desired.[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs (September 20, 2022). "Space Force reveals official song: "Semper Supra"". Space Force News. Retrieved September 22, 2022.
  2. ^ "Meet the airman behind the Space Force motto 'Semper Supra'". February 2, 2022. Retrieved September 22, 2022.
  3. ^ Cohen, Rachel S. (July 22, 2020). "Space Force Debuts New Delta Logo, Motto". Air Force Magazine. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Kaufman, Ellie (September 20, 2022). "Space Force releases official song 'Semper Supra'". Retrieved September 22, 2022.
  5. ^ Brodeur, Michael Andor (September 20, 2022). "With new official anthem, the Space Force hopes to land on your radar". Washington Post. Retrieved September 22, 2022.
  6. ^ Simkins, John (September 20, 2022). "Space Force debuts its official service song 'Semper Supra'". Defense News. Retrieved September 22, 2022.
  7. ^ Ari Shapiro, Stephen Thompson (September 22, 2022). A review of Space Force's new anthem, 'Semper Supra' (radio magazine). NPR. Retrieved September 23, 2022. THOMPSON: I mean, it depends on what you're going for, right? Like, I looked at, like, OK, there's a new song for the Space Force. My immediate thought went to Team America: World Police. You know that movie? SHAPIRO: Like, '90s hair rock or something. THOMPSON: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Or like something out of, like a G.I. Joe cartoon or something. And, like, they're not going to do that. It's a military march. So I don't know what I was expecting in terms of, like, this song is stodgy and old-fashioned. It's a military march. But also, at the same time, you're called the Space Force. A lot of your iconography does evoke so much pop culture. They might as well have leaned into it.
  8. ^ Levenson, Michael (September 21, 2022). "Space Force Song Shoots for the Stars, but Some Think It Falls Flat". New York Times. Retrieved September 23, 2022.

External links

This page was last edited on 15 November 2023, at 09:49
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