By Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Rognstad
1st Space Brigade
Staff Sgt. Robert Day, an Army Reserve Soldier with 2nd Space Battalion, is the outgoing noncommissioned-officer-in-charge of the battalion’s communications cell (S6). An information technology (IT) expert with an unwavering enthusiasm for the expanse that exists beyond Earth and between celestial bodies, Day has been interested in space since he was a young child.
He is one year shy of graduating from college with a bachelor’s of science degree in space studies, with a focus in space policy, from American Military University, and hosts a YouTube channel online that explains orbital mechanics surrounding the Kerbal Space Program, a space flight simulation video game.
Day is a space aficionado, and fits right in with his military unit. Even though he has been promoted out of 2nd Battalion and is moving onto the 347th Training Regiment at Fort Gordon, Georgia, he hopes to eventually come back into the battalion in some capacity. When he first came into space in 2016, he served on Army Space Support Team 17.
“Working together with other MOSs including 35 series (intelligence analyst) and 12 series (construction trade jobs), we built capabilities for space domain awareness,” Day said of being in ARSST 17. “It really helped me understand that IT isn’t just a communications capability, but can also be an intelligence capability and a function of space overall. It showed me that there was more than just one spectrum in any given MOS.”
Upon joining 2nd Space Battalion, Day helped create its S6 cell. He and his team created a mission set from scratch for the battalion and faced challenges figuring out formats, policies and standard operating procedures (SOPs). Ensuring Soldiers don’t just have their radio capabilities, but their IT and operations technology capabilities, Day said S6 becomes an integral part to all communications in the battalion.
“Everyone in the battalion is a warfighter on the front line,” Day said. “Supporting them in that function for an S6 communications cell comes in the form of ensuring that their systems maintain the latest functionality in terms of system updates, security updates, security awareness, and accreditation of the user. We ensure that they have the most up-to-date training on these systems to make them aware of the current threats on the cyber battlefield.”
Day’s job in the military wasn’t always so technical and clean. Having paid his dues in the field as a crew member on a M1A1 Abrams tank, Day deployed to Iraq from 2007 to 2009 in that capacity. Upon his return, he wanted a change of pace, and something more technically challenging, so he decided to go the IT route in 2010 and shipped to the 1st Engineer Battalion at Fort Riley, Kansas, where he also deployed to Iraq in 2011.
After serving as the information management officer at United States Forces Korea at Yongsan Barracks in Seoul, Korea for a year, and a year in a communications security position at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, Day crossed over into the Army Reserve after 10 years on active duty. It was there in the 1st Space Battalion where he first began to get involved in space capabilities, as 2nd Battalion had not been stood up yet.
“The most career development I’ve had, whether its active duty or the Reserve has been at 2nd Space Battalion,” Day said. “This is the first unit I have ever stabilized with simply because they have the best leaders I’ve found in the Army. They take their mission seriously and they take pride in it. They love what they do, and I love working with people who love what they do.”
Day will be an IT operator/trainer at his new unit at Fort Gordon, but as stated before, he desires to return someday to 2nd Space Battalion and achieve the rank of first sergeant to pass on his knowledge he gained over the years.
“Leadership in the battalion look at what’s needed; they look at what they understand and don’t understand, and learn how they can facilitate what they need,” Day said. “They look for what the implied task is and how to achieve it. This is a labor love for these Soldiers, and when you love what you do for work, it’s not really working.”
He also wishes to be around like-minded Soldiers who share his underlying passion for space.
“Space has become a huge part of my life,” Day said. “Working with the different physical parameters of space, everything is changing, and it creates a dynamic challenge that anybody who wants to look at things in a different spectrum would love.”