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NEWS | Nov. 23, 2021

From Apaches to Space: Commanding the Army Reserve's only space battalion

By Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Rognstad 1st Space Brigade

U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense’s 2nd Space Battalion is the only Army Reserve space battalion. Lt. Col. Adam Stanley, the commander of the battalion, and a Delta Airlines pilot in the civilian world, took some time out of his busy schedule to sit down and speak with me about the importance of Army Reserve Soldiers in Army Space, his background, and where he goes from here.

Q: What is the importance of having an Army Reserve space battalion?

A: Space is a warfighting domain. The Army Reserve participates and in some ways leads that fight. The battalion has three Army Space Support Team (ARSSTs) companies, and is almost exclusively responsible for supporting all of the global requirements for the ARRST mission set. This ranges from contingency and operational plans at the joint level, in addition to all the tier one level exercises. So from an Army Reserve perspective you have (Army Reserve Soldiers) who come to drill and possess a skillset contributing to the total force which is not mirrored on the active component side. This makes us an invaluable resource in the joint fight. This is something the Army Reserve can be proud of, along with its Soldiers and their families.

Q: Would an Army Reserve ARRST ever work side-by-side with an active-duty Space Control Planning Team?

A: Absolutely. There have been a couple joint exercises where this has happened. You gain two very technically-capable teams doing slightly different missions, but ones that are ever-present and necessary to bring to the joint fight.

Q: What does an Army Reserve Soldier have to look forward to drilling in one of the companies of 2nd Space Battalion?

A: The worst thing that can happen to (an Army Reserve Soldier) is they show up to a unit without a clear goal to achieve in their specific career field. They find themselves coming to drill and just going through the motions. That’s not this unit. We have a very clear and necessary mission-set. There are tasks and training that have to be accomplished, whether it’s tier-one exercise support on a yearly basis, rotating out of CENTCOM (U.S. Central Command), EUCOM (U.S. Europe Command), or PACOM (U.S. Pacific Command) - you are coming here to do your job. You are performing your wartime mission when you are coming to drill. The Soldier is going to be more motivated and engaged because you have now filled them with a more legitimate purpose. You give them goals, and the skills and tools to accomplish those goals. Plus those skills and tools are highly applicable in the civilian space sector. You may find yourself getting trained up as a Space Soldier and taking those skills to the civilian world as a defense contractor or civilian.

Q: Tell me a little bit about your background in and out of the military?

A: I am from Litchfield, Connecticut - grew up in a Navy family, so I joined the Army just to go a different route. I joined the Massachusetts Army National Guard coming out of high school then commissioned from Boston University in 2001 and went off to flight school to become an Apache helicopter pilot. I deployed to Tikrit, Iraq in ‘04/05 where I flew about 500 hours in combat.

Q: Let me stop you right there. How was that?

A: It was amazing. It was like being a World War II fighter pilot. I was out doing great things for our ground Soldiers, supporting (Army Reserve Soldiers), the active component, special operations - I mean, in the fight, literally ...every day. It was the most rewarding, terrifying experience that I will never forget. That first deployment where I was a lieutenant platoon leader flying Apaches with my hair on fire doing awesome things was a definite highlight of my career.

Q: I imagine so. I also read you deployed to Afghanistan flying jet aircraft. What else have you done in your illustrious Reserve career?

A: Yes, I flew over 200 hours in the UC-35 in Afghanistan in support of the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) in 2011. After that I moved to Colorado and got into Space in 2014. I am an Airbus 330 International Pilot for Delta Airlines in my civilian job, and I am currently in my second year of battalion command and my second year of the U.S. Army War College.

Q: What does the future hold for you going forward?

A: It’s hard to imagine my life without the military. When you have been around long enough, you reach a certain point where you have the opportunity to influence and help fix some of the issues that you always thought were wrong in your tenure. The experience base just isn’t there with the young generation in the military right now. Lots of captains and below, and staff sergeants and below, have never deployed before, so it’s hard to walk away when you can still shape and influence the younger Soldiers. Teach them the lessons you learned during your deployments, or your AGR (Active Guard Reserve) time/civilian experience. I am not here for the paycheck or the points. I am here to pass on whatever experience I have to try and mold the next generation to go off and do amazing things in the Army.