By DJ Montoya
1st Space Brigade
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Seven Soldiers from the 117th Space Battalion (Colorado Army National Guard), 1st Space Brigade, were welcomed home during a small ceremony in The Club ballroom Aug. 19.
Maj. Brad Rhodes, 1st Lt. Steven Dunlap, Staff Sgt. Timothy Kretsch, Spc. Annie Acrea, Spc. Johnathon Nunnali and Spc. Nathaniel Rogers are member of Army Space Support Team 22. Their mission is to provide space-based products and capabilities to the warfighter on the ground.
Prior to receiving the traditional mission coin from the team’s leader, Col. Eric P. Henderson, 1st Space Brigade commander thanked the team.
“Major Rhodes I’m proud of you for bringing your team home safely,” he said. “The contributions your team has made, the products you have produced, the lives you have changed, not just for yourselves but for the people of Afghanistan and our coalition partners who stand shoulder to shoulder with us reflects greatly on this command and the U.S. Army.”
Rhodes relinquished the coin given to him for safekeeping in November 2010 back to the brigade commander.
Henderson then presented each member of the team the Army Commendation Medal for a job well done these past nine months.
Lt. Col. Jesse Morehouse, 117th Space Battalion commander, gave an example of the team’s importance during their deployment.
“The Marines actually had a canal that they were paying to have built,” Moorehouse said.
“They needed to inspect the work to make sure it was getting done to standard. Problem was sending out a group to inspect the canal was difficult and dangerous because of the bad guys on the ground.”
Realizing the problem, the team educated the Marines on the fact they could get satellite images of the work from above and monitor progress without ever having to stand on the ground.
“It turns out taking picture from space of a canal many miles long, you get a better feel for what has actually has been done than standing on the ground next to a pile of dirt.”
“They kept Soldiers from unnecessarily going into harm’s way. This is one of the many things they did during their tour in-theater,” he said.
The mission of the 117th Space Battalion is to plan, coordinate, integrate, synchronize and execute global space force enhancement operations and assigned state requirements in support of Army, joint, combined forces and civil authorities.