On Tuesday, America’s newest military branch, the Space Force, unveiled its official song entitled, Semper Supra – Latin for “Always Above.”
Every American military branch has an official song meant to represent the shared cultural touchstones and ideals of those who don its uniform. Anyone who’s ever spent some time drinking with Marines already knows that — because singing the Marine Corps Hymn at the top of your lungs over cheap beer is practically a rite of passage for any self-respecting young Devil Dog venturing out of the gate for liberty with their polo shirt tucked tightly into their blue jeans.
The Marine Corps hymn has been around for 93 years. The Army’s official song, The Army Goes Rolling Along, was adopted more than 60 years ago. And now the Space Force, which was founded just two years ago, can join in on the fun.
All kidding aside, an official song is an important part of establishing a common cultural fabric within a military organization. The ideals highlighted in the song can serve as both reflection and objective — a way to recognize the branch’s standards today as well as a call to continue raising that bar into the future.
“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,” Chief of Space Operations Gen. John “Jay” Raymond said in a release.
“Our traditions are part of the fabric that weave us all together as we execute our missions side-by-side; I will be proud to sing ‘Semper Supra’ alongside my fellow Guardians.”
‘Semper Supra’ – Always Above
The effort behind Semper Supra has been two years in the making and saw participation from a number of current and former service member-musicians.
The song’s creation began in 2019, right after the branch itself was formed, when singer/songwriter James Teachenor started hashing out the concept with Gen. Raymond. Teachenor is an Air Force veteran who was previously a member of the U.S. Air Force band at the Air Force Academy. While the song has seen contributions from many others, Teachenor has been credited with bringing Semper Supra to fruition.
“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,” Teachenor said.
Once he had the song roughed out, Teachenor sent it out to military bands for them to give it their own polish and finishing touches. Once he received 12 submissions back, he took them to U.S. Coast Guard Band trombonist and staff arranger, Sean Nelson.
“I received the melody and words from James, and he wanted me to help add the harmony and to orchestrate it,” said Nelson.
“At first, it started with singing and the piano. 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.”
The final version that was approved by the Space Force was performed by the U.S. Coast Guard Band.
The lyrics to ‘Semper Supra’ — the official Space Force song
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.