Official websites use .mil
Secure .mil websites use HTTPS
By Michiko Riley, SSC Public Affairs
/ Published November 22, 2022
Chief of Space Operations Gen. B. Chance Saltzman awards
Sgt. Tarek Salem the service-level Polaris Award for Character at the inaugural Space Force Ball in Los Angeles on Nov. 18. The establishment of the service-wide award program is significant as the newest military branch builds its own unique traditions and culture. This is the first time the Polaris Awards have been awarded at the service level since the program was
created this year.
Space Base Delta’s 3 Sgt Tarek Salem received U.S. Space Force’s Polaris Award for Character during the first annual Space Force Ball held in Los Angeles on Nov. 18. The ceremony marked the first year the military branch executed its own unique, service-wide annual awards program.
"Sgt. Salem is a rock star," said Col. Mia Walsh, commander Space Base Delta 3. "He is known for his candor and taking on those tough assignments and somehow turning the results into gold! He's been an astounding mentor ensuring those he supports remain at the top of their game while teaching critical values of integrity and accountability simply through his actions alone.”
The Polaris Awards consist of four individual award categories representing the USSF Guardian Values of Character, Courage, Commitment and Connection, in addition to a team award that embodies all four values.
Salem, a noncommissioned officer in charge of the SBD’s communications Focal Point, supports more than 5,000 personnel at Los Angeles Air Force Base and is an expert in computer networking and cybersecurity. Salem transitioned to the USSF in February 2021 after serving nearly 10 years in the Air Force and was recently selected to promotion to Tech. Sgt.
“It is truly an honor to win at the Space Force level,” said Salem. “It might be my name on the award, however, there are countless mentors, peers, and supervisors who have played a major role in my development which made this all possible.”
Salem, along with other Field Command-level Polaris Award recipients spent time in LA during the week leading up to the Space Force Ball. The group toured local industry facilities including SSC’s Kobayashi Maru, Slingshot Aerospace and University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering to enhance their understanding of commercial industry partnerships as well as improve their knowledge of new and innovative technologies that support the joint warfighters. For Salem, the tours also provided an opportunity to share stories and connect with other Guardians.
“I was truly blessed to be even considered alongside Guardians of their caliber. As the first recipient for Character, I look forward to collaborating with the other award winners and building the Polaris Award culture for future Guardians.”
“Congratulations Sgt Salem on this amazing accomplishment,” said Walsh. “You truly exemplify the USSF Guardian Ideal!”