Secretary of the Air Force unveils historic first CSO portrait

  • Published
  • By SAF/PA Staff Writer
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

The Secretary of the Air Force unveiled the portrait of retired Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, the first Chief of Space Operations, during an historic event at the Pentagon July 24.

Raymond is the first U.S. Space Force leader to be immortalized in a portrait that will be on permanent display in the Pentagon.  


This unveiling of this portrait signifies the historic beginnings of the newest branch of the armed services. The Space Force was established Dec. 20, 2019, when the National Defense Authorization Act was signed into law. Raymond became the first Guardian in the service and served as the first CSO from 2019 to 2022.


“He is going to forever be known as the Father of the Space Force,” said Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall. “There will be portraits added to the line in the hallway, but they will forever line up behind Jay.”

Kendall touched on Raymond’s legacy of guiding the Space Force and building the newest military branch from the ground up, including how he established the service’s doctrine, created an innovative culture, built the organizational structure, and trained Space Force Guardians.

“He faced challenges that few leaders ever have, and no one else in the Space Force ever will.” Kendall said. “He was the right leader at the right time, successfully navigating us through an inflection point in history with the right team.”


During the ceremony, Raymond extended his appreciation to the Space Force and the team for the tribute. Additionally, he highlighted some of the portrait elements, their symbolism and significance.


“I couldn’t be more thrilled with the portrait and want to thank all those who helped create it. It captures the importance of Guardians and their families; the value of international partnerships; the independence from, and a strong connection with, the Air Force; and with links to the past, looks forward to a bold future in order to defend our great nation,” Raymond said. “My family and I were so grateful to Secretary Kendall for hosting such a wonderful unveiling and so appreciate his leadership to mature the service to where it is today.”


Raymond retired from active duty Jan. 1, 2023, following 38 years of service in the military. Prior to being the first Guardian and first CSO, Raymond served as the commander of then-Air Force Space Command and the 14th Air Force and Joint Functional Component Command for Space, U.S. Strategic Command commander.