10th AAMDC Soldiers earn coveted Space Badge

by Staff Sgt. John Zumer
10th AAMDC Public Affairs

“One Team, One Fight” is an often-heard phrase signifying the need to pull together and accomplish a mission. For nine Soldiers of the Kaiserslautern-based 10th Army Air Missile Defense Command, it represents an opportunity to work with their U.S. Air Force counterparts in providing a safer and more efficient battle space.

Air Force Lt. Col. John Taylor, the acting director of space for U.S. Army Europe and Africa Command, spoke at a Rhine Ordnance Barracks ceremony recognizing the nine Soldiers awarded with the “Space Badge.”

For Taylor, the occasion represented a chance to witness firsthand the good things possible when different military branches work together.

“It’s an acknowledgement that space is inherently global and inherently joint,” he said.

Air Force and Army officials approved the establishment of the Air Force Space Badge as a joint Air Force and Army badge in February 2011, at which time the term “Air Force” was dropped from the badge’s official name. Soldiers are eligible for the award by attending Air Force or Army space or satellite systems courses, provided they also have 12 months (for active Army) or 24 months (for Army Reserve and Army National Guard) experience in a space billet. To date,
more than 1,000 Space Badges have been awarded to Soldiers.

Regardless of the changes to the name, however, the significance of the award for those wearing it is readily apparent to others, Taylor said.

“People will look at that badge with a higher level of respect,” he said.

U.S. Army Sgt. Bryan Hanover, a radar sensor manager with the 5-7 Air Defense Artillery, 10th AAMDC, was grateful for the opportunity to attend the instruction, which was provided at the Warrior Preparation Center near Kaiserslautern.

“It was fast moving and challenging, but extremely fun,” said Hanover, who helps man a radar system providing early warning from ballistic missile attacks against U.S. forces, interests and allies in Germany and Europe.

Hanover added that while much data was introduced at the beginning, the material quickly blended with other lessons, allowing for a better understanding of battle space mission and capabilities. Those new skills include a greater knowledge of the
procedures, equipment and computer programs used in operating and controlling today’s battle space.

And in an ever-changing world with constantly evolving threats, Soldiers entrusted with battle space responsibilities can’t afford to fall behind the times or fail to upgrade their skills with available opportunities like the Space Badge.

For Hanover and his fellow Soldiers in the 10th AAMDC, it all comes with the territory of constantly striving to enhance their combat, equipment and training readiness.

“This course played a vital role in expanding our vast knowledge of the missile defense and space communities. As sensor managers we’re able to see a much broader picture of our defense structure and strategy,” he said.

Taylor agreed, being quick to add that while the Space Badge is a tremendous honor for those who receive and wear it, the reasoning behind it is to ensure the lives and safety of fellow citizens and comrades in arms.

“Ultimately, the customers we serve are those put in harm’s way,” Taylor said.