REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama - When defending the nation, it helps to be superior in all you do.

The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Strategic Command and subordinate units were awarded the Army Superior Unit Award for demonstrating the ability to establish mission command of global space, missile defense and high altitude capabilities support to the U.S. Army, joint forces, allies and partners during the period of Jan. 5, 2017, to Jan. 4, 2018. The command's endeavors resulted in unity of effort that enhanced deterrence, assurance and detection of strategic attacks and provided significant support to homeland defense.

"It is important to recognize and thank our Soldiers for the selfless job they do each and every single day," said Brig. Gen. Tim C. Lawson, USASMDC/ARSTRAT deputy commanding general for operations. "Soldiers doing the right thing, day in and day out, even when no one is watching is the most important thing we can ask for as leaders. Receiving this award is motivational to the Soldier receiving it and also for others in the command.

"Soldiers in the command receiving this award are being recognized for their exceptional performance and dedication to duty not only to the unit, but the Army as a whole," he added. "Soldiers receiving this award are being recognized for going above and beyond their normal mission in a difficult situation and putting others first before themselves."

The U.S. Army Superior Unit Award, or SUA, was established by the Secretary of the Army April 8, 1985, to recognize outstanding meritorious performance by a unit during peacetime of a difficult and challenging mission under extraordinary circumstances. Circumstances may be deemed to be extraordinary when they do not represent the typical day-to-day circumstances under which the unit normally performs, or may reasonably be expected to perform, its peacetime mission.

"The assignment to SMDC has been the pinnacle of my 14 years of Army service," said Staff Sgt. Michael Brown, executive assistant to the SMDC command sergeant major. "Never have I seen a unit so geographically separated, filled with talented people from numerous disciplines come together in support of the nation's most important missions. I have watched these professionals perform their duty tirelessly and the Superior Unit Award is a physical manifestation of a grateful nation. It has been my pleasure to serve alongside these men and women and I'm honored to stand among such patriots."

The SUA lapel pin is also authorized for issue and wear by Department of the Army civilians in the employ of the decorated unit. Those individuals employed with the unit during the cited period may wear the lapel pin permanently. Those currently employed with a decorated unit, but who were not employed during the cited period may wear the lapel pin on a temporary basis as long as they remain employed by the unit.

Similarly, military members who are assigned to the unit can wear the award on their uniform while assigned. However, those who were assigned during the time period of the award can continue to wear the award even when not assigned to the unit.

"Earning this award means a great deal in every aspect of military life," said Capt. Thomas J. Sawicki, SMDC Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander; and former crew officer-in-charge of the 4th Space Company, 1st Space Brigade, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, when his unit qualified for the SUA. "It sends a direct message to the Soldiers and civilians of the command that the unit is being recognized for superior performance and that their individual contributions played a vital role in accomplishing the missions that facilitated the receipt of the SUA.

"Receiving this award motivates me to ensure that we continue to maintain our high standards, and surpass our previous accomplishments," he added. "The receipt of another SUA would be a great accomplishment, and due to the Soldiers and civilians within the command, I have no doubts that we will receive another in the future."