REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama -- One space operations officer continues to appreciate his surroundings while still defending the high ground.

Capt. Boyd T. DeLanzo, commander, Alpha Detachment, 1st Space Company (JTAGS) based in Stuttgart, Germany, joined the Army in 2009. He attended basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, immediately followed by Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia.

He has served with 2nd Battalion, 6th Air Defense Artillery Battalion at Fort Sill, Oklahoma; the 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment at Camp Carroll, South Korea; and has served in multiple units within the 1st Space Battalion since 2012, including a deployment within U.S. Central Command.

DeLanzo has served in both the Joint Tactical Ground Station, or JTAGS, and Space Control mission areas within the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command since 2012. His experience within SMDC helped him become a Space Operations Officer through the Voluntary Transfer Incentive Program in 2014.

"JTAGS European Command is the Army element of the Theater Event System, which provides early missile warning," DeLanzo said. "We are responsible for receiving and processing in-theater, direct down-linked data from OPIR, or Overhead Persistent Infrared, Sensors in order to disseminate early missile warning, by alerting and cueing information on tactical ballistic missiles.

"Frankly, what I like most about SMDC is being on the cutting edge of military technology," he added. "JTAGS itself isn't a new mission, but our capabilities are getting better all the time. Intelligence and advanced warning have been the key to success on the battlefield since the dawn of war. We continue that tradition by ensuring that U.S. and allied forces know what's coming, so they have time to react."

DeLanzo talked about how his past experiences helped to get him where he is today.

"My entry into the Army wasn't typical," he said. "I joined when I was 27 after doing many other things after college. I've done everything from pizza delivery, to journalism, to being a bouncer in Atlantic City and Hoboken, New Jersey.

"My last job before the Army was working as a finance director for a congressional race," DeLanzo added. "After a while, I became very jaded with a political process dominated by concerns over fundraising. Overall, my experiences taught me that hard work alone isn't what matters. Hard work has to have a greater purpose, individually and collectively, to have true meaning. The Army has given me that."

While serving in the Army, he discussed those who have influenced him and helped him become a better Soldier and leader.

"I've had quite a few mentors help me since I took my first position in 1st Space Battalion and they know who they are," DeLanzo said. "The caliber of the officers I have worked with in the unit is incredibly high. There is a culture of constant improvement and innovation among the cadre of space operations officers that is the impetus driving many of our nascent space missions to the next stage of development."

And while learning from peers and leaders himself, he also understands that he has a chance to mentor those he has sworn to lead.

"The best advice I give Soldiers is to be the person they want to be today, not tomorrow," DeLanzo said. "Why? Good habits are what lead to success. Good habits, forged in the fire of life's challenges, are what propel you forward when opportunities arise. I remind my Soldier's that while the future is unwritten, they are the one's holding the pen."

DeLanzo took the opportunity to discuss the places he has served and how they have made serving in the Army and adventure.

"I have lived and traveled in many countries throughout my life," he said. "Italy and Germany are by far my favorites. My family and I currently live in Stuttgart. It's amazing here. Our 4-year old daughter goes to a German school, our neighbors are kind and bring us local delicacies whenever they make them, and it seems like every weekend there is some kind of local event or fest going on. We feel very much a part of our German community here. Stuttgart is also centrally located to explore the rest of Europe if you like to travel, which we do."

DeLanzo said that being able to live within other countries gives him the opportunity to learn more about other cultures, which is also something he enjoys.

"I have a passion for languages, history, and travel, all of which are often complimentary," DeLanzo said. "I speak Italian, French, Chinese, and I'm making some progress with German since we live here now. My family and I love to travel. We take advantage of every opportunity to explore Germany, Europe, and elsewhere.

"I have one class left until I complete a master's degree in international relations, so free time for hobbies is always a delicate balancing act," he added.