'Space Cowboys' Help with Colorado Wildfire
July 2, 2013
PAGOSA SPRINGS, Colo. -- Army Space Soldiers from the 117th Space Battalion, Colorado Army National Guard, providing 'a first' by bringing space-based products and support to civilian authorities fighting the West Fork Complex fire in southern Colorado than began June 5.
Three 'Space Cowboys' from the recently re-deployed six-member Army Space Support Team 27 designed to support the Warfighters in the theater of operations were mobilized and put on state active duty for Colorado on June 23 to support firefighting efforts.
They are Army National Guard Soldiers Capt. Tim Bouma, team leader and space operations officer, Sgt. Cassandra Quinones, geospatial engineer, and Sgt. Nathan Faith, network specialist. The team's operations are based out of the Pagosa Springs Airport along with the Incident Command Center.
Products and services being provided to firefighter include GPS, imagery, and mapping tailored to the fires unique properties. The 117th is the only unit with the tools to produce the imagery required to best fight the West Fork Complex fire.
According to Lt. Col. Martin L. Bortolutti, commander of the 117th Space Battalion, "This is the first time in the battalion's history that we are able to recall an Army Space Support Team force package and to provide civil support for wildfire effort.
"The team has performed magnificently and will stay as long as allowed in order to provide any advantage to the fire-fighting effort," Bortolutti said. "The 117th Space Battalion hopes to provide continued civil support to the state whenever called upon."
Tha battalion is assigned to the 1st Space Brigade, which is part of the u.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command.