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‘Space Cowboys’ return from multi-theater mission 
By Spc. Joseph K. VonNida, Colorado National Guard Public Affairs 
Space Cowboy 
Micquela Smith, 6, inspects the medal her father, Staff Sgt. James Smith, a member of the Colorado Army National Guard’s Army Space Support Team 26 of the 117th Space Support Battalion, received during the welcome home ceremony for his unit April 5, 2010, at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo. ARSST 26 mobilized in support of both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring freedom. (Official U.S. Army photo by Spc. Joseph K. VonNida, Colorado National Guard/RELEASED)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (4/5/10) – The Colorado Army National Guard welcomed home six members its Army Space Support Team 26 of the 117th Space Support Battalion at the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/U.S. Army Forces Strategic Command on Peterson Air Force Base.

The mobilization was unique in the fact that ARSST 26 supported both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom during the same deployment. The unit served for approximately four months in Iraq and five months in Afghanistan.  

“I want to recognize and thank all the members of ARSST 26 for their dedication and professionalism,” said Col. Dana M. Capozzella, Colorado Army National Guard commander. “This deployment is marked in its uniqueness in that, to my knowledge, this is the only Colorado Army National Guard unit to date in the war against terror that has deployed to one area of operation – Operation Iraqi Freedom, and then jumped to another – Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. That is a testament to their skill, professionalism and unique abilities that they bring to the war fight.” 

While serving in support of Multi-National Force-West in Iraq, and Regional Command-South in Afghanistan, the team contributed to the development and integration of more than 800 space-based products. The products provided early warning, identification and reporting of theater missile threats; counter-measurement of improvised explosive devices; and battlefield and weather conditions.

The team’s efforts helped facilitate the capture of several suspected insurgents and the destruction of numerous weapons caches. The team provided critical space capabilities in support of Operation Moshtarak – the largest ground operation since 2001 – with more than 10,000 coalition and Afghan forces.

“Soldiers don’t go to war, families go to war,” said Maj. Jesse Moorehouse, 117th Space Support Battalion executive officer. “Of course, as the Guard we don’t just go to war as families; we go to war as communities. We defend our country as a community. The easy part is deploying, the hard part is staying home and taking care of everything else. Thank you all for all the work that you have done.”

ARSST 26 is comprised of a handful of personnel, both enlisted and officer. ARSSTs provide space-enabling products to warfighters, and support division commanders, their staffs, and various other government and civilian agencies.

ARSSTs monitor and provide accurate, timely and actionable terrestrial and space weather data; satellite imagery for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; early warning, identification

and reporting of theater missile threats; GPS monitoring and accuracy reporting; monitoring and reporting of counter-improvised explosive device programs; and provide situational awareness of the battlefield.