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Army Space Support Team departs for Afghanistan 
By Army National Guard Capt. Michael Odgers, 100th Missile Defense Brigade (Ground-based Midcourse Defense) Public Affairs 
ARSST-25 departure 
Army Space Support Team-25 stands for the National Anthem during a departure ceremony at the Colorado National Guard state headquarters in Centennial, Colo., Oct. 26, 2012. The six-Soldier team is departing for Afghanistan for a nine-month deployment to provide space-based products to Regional Command-Southwest. (Army National Guard photo by Capt. Michael Odgers/RELEASED)

CENTENNIAL, COLO. (10/26/12) – Fellow service members, friends and family honored Army Space Support Team-25, part of the 117th Space Battalion, in a departure ceremony at Joint Force Headquarters-Colorado in Centennial, Colo., Oct. 26.

ARSST-25 is headed to Afghanistan for nine months.

Adjutant General of Colorado Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards and Lt. Gen. Richard P. Formica, commander of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, were both on hand to honor the team’s departure.

“No other unit in the National Guard has had as many deployments as the 117th Space Battalion,” said Edwards. “I am so proud of what you do”

“I can’t say enough about the great relationship SMDC has with the Colorado National Guard, with both space and missile defense,” said Formica. “We’re both doing the same thing: providing support to the warfighters.”

The six-member team consists of Maj. Michael Lane, Capt. Erik Peterson, Staff Sgt, Brett Mills, Sgt. Julia Tallant, Spc. Jenny Thompson and Spc. Antonio Cordova.

“I am looking forward to doing my duty and making a contribution, said Lane, the team leader. “I want to help with the heavy lifting like so many of those have gone before me.”

The unit just completed several weeks of pre-mobilization training, focusing on theater-specific tasks and certifying on their mission tasks.

The Army’s only space brigade and the National Guard’s only space battalion are located in Colorado Springs, Colo., therefore team members were able to complete all of their pre-mobilization training in Colorado Springs and stay closer to family for a little longer.

Four of the team members are going on their first deployment. However, this is Mills' fourth deployment. He and his wife Ramona were married just weeks before his first deployment in 2003. What do they credit getting through so many deployments? Web chat.

“The deployments are tough at times,” said Ramona, “but we’ve been able to Skype, and that helps us get through it. I don’t how they did it before Skype.”

Space is a unique field for the Army. The unit's mission is to provide space-based products to the warfighter. These products are used in virtually every aspect of theater operations, increasing the capabilities and effectiveness of the warfighters and those who support them. Space Soldiers monitor and p­rovide terrestrial and space weather data; satellite imagery for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and even monitor counter-improvised explosive device programs.

USASMDC has training, readiness and oversight for two Colorado National Guard units, the 100th Missile Defense Brigade (Ground-based Midcourse Defense) and the 117th Space Battalion.

The unit will be supporting Marines in Regional Command-Southwest.