Every branch of the armed forces has an official song, from “The Army Goes Rolling Along” to “The Marines’ Hymn.” Each song is part of the services’ foundation and represents its values, traditions and culture.
And now the U.S. Space Force, the newest military branch established in 2019 as a part of the U.S. Air Force, has its own anthem, thanks to an adjunct professor of songwriting at Middle Tennessee State University’s College of Media and Entertainment.
The Space Force officially adopted “Semper Supra,” written by Jamie Teachenor, on Sept. 20 during the 2022 Air & Space Forces Association Air, Space and Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.
“Semper Supra” was named after the Space Force motto, which is Latin for “Always Above.” 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.
A release by Space Force credited Teachenor, who joined the college’s Commercial Songwriting major this semester to teach its practicum course, as “the visionary composer and driving force of the song’s creation.”
Teachenor, an award-winning singer, songwriter and producer who has written songs, and recorded with many country artists including Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan and Trisha Yearwood, said it took years of research and revisions to make sure the song was ready for release.
“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,” said Teachenor, also a Sumner County commissioner.
A veteran himself and prior member of the U.S. Air Force band at the Air Force Academy, Teachenor worked with Chief of Space Operations Gen. John “Jay” Raymond to begin the songwriting process when the Space Force was formed in 2019.
“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,” Raymond said. “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.”
After creating a foundation for the song, Teachenor’s project was sent to various military bands that could create a musical arrangement to give finishing touches and complete the song’s sound; 12 musical submissions of the song were under review. Teachenor then collaborated with chief musician Sean Nelson, U.S. Coast Guard Band trombonist and staff arranger.
“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.”
Once Nelson added more than 30 instrument parts, the song’s arrangement was played and recorded by the USCG band, then submitted to the Space Force for review.
After many months of development, revisions and variations in coordination with the USCG band, the Space Force picked the final version of “Semper Supra,” to capture what it means to be a Guardian.
Odie Blackmon, associate professor in the Department of Recording Industry who hired Teachenor to teach at MTSU, said he became aware of the songwriter for his Blaine Larson 2004 country hit, “How Do You Get That Lonely,” which addressed teen suicide.
“He’s one of the sweetest, most caring people I know,” Blackmon said. “So, when I heard that Jamie had written the official Space Force song, I was elated but not surprised. Jamie is a beautiful human who can do anything he sets his mind to.”
Teachenor’s practicum class receives song critiques from hit songwriters; records with top studio musicians; and will collaborate with Operation Song and the MTSU Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center, Blackmon said.
“I’m so happy he is giving back to our students at MTSU,” Blackmon said.