In space, no one can hear you neigh.
It remains somewhat unclear exactly what purpose the newest branch of the American military, the U.S. Space Force, is supposed to serve, but you probably didn’t expect this to be part of their duties:
You have heard of a MW???? but what about a MW?????
Protecting our access to space involves many unique aspects, including welcoming @30thSpaceWing‘s newest Military Working Horse to their Conservation Military Working Horse program. Ghost is a 5 year old @BLMNational Mustang. pic.twitter.com/r1dAd0plsc
— United States Space Force (@SpaceForceDoD) July 23, 2020
Are you ready? They used to be the Air Force’s horses.
As the video posted to the Space Force’s official Twitter account on Friday explains, the “military working horses” are part of the 30th Space Wing based at the Vandenberg Air Base in California. Prior to the creation of the Space Force, they were part of a conservation program run by the Air Force.
“We are able to go through creeks and water with the horses, high hills that we wouldn’t be able to get through with off-road vehicles,” U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Michael Terrazas explained in a 2019 profile of the program.
Yes, yes. If only the Air Force had the means of getting to places that are difficult for earthbound troops to access, right?
When the Space Force was created last year, the Air Force conservation program was spun off to the new branch. But the horses will continue to do the same work as before: helping enforce decidedly earthbound matters like fish and game laws.
Whether they’re air horses or space horses, the real question is why any branch of the military is doing this. Would America’s national security be weakened in any measurable way if the Space Force horses were put out to a privatized pasture?
The last successful cavalry charge in military history occurred more than a decade before the first man-made satellite went to space. The number of horses that have exited the atmosphere is exactly zero. And yet somehow, within the bizarre labyrinth of bloat and waste that is the Pentagon, it made perfect sense for the Air Force, and now the Space Force, to have horses.
Maybe the military doesn’t really need $738 billion a year after all.