PETERSON SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. – U.S. Military Academy Cadet Sgt. Mason Bay, who has dreamed of being an astronaut since he was a young boy, was right at home at the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command.
The 20-year-old Bay from Oxford, Mississippi, recently finished a two-week internship with USASMDC as part of the Army’s Academic Individual Advanced Development program, which places cadets into commands for internship and research.
In the spring, Bay completed his second year at West Point, where he is majoring in space science and minoring in Russian. He said he jumped at the opportunity to be in the AIAD program.
“Learning this culture and being around such different types of officers and NCOs (noncommissioned officers) has been such a shift from where I am coming from,” Bay said. “But this is where I eventually want to be.”
Bay belongs to a select couple dozen cadets at West Point going through its space program, although he wishes to initially branch into infantry to gain invaluable leadership experience.
“When I think of the Army, the first thing that comes to mind is infantry,” Bay said. “And to be thrown into that crucible of leadership is something that would be beneficial to my development for a future application toward being an FA40 (space operations officer).”
Maj. Paul Kellmurray, a future operations planner with USASMDC’s G-33, mentored Bay during his internship and taught him about the command’s operations.
“Hopefully it’s been an eye-opener for him,” Kellmurray said. “Not only just how SMDC runs things, but also Space Command and how the DOD (Department of Defense) and combatant commands, along with the joint forces, plan operations to give him more of a strategic perspective. That has been his exposure here - things he will not get as a brand new second lieutenant.”
Bay said he was happy for the opportunity to intern at USASMDC.
“The G33 staff has been very welcoming and patient,” Bay said. “Maj. Kellmurray has been my mentor through this whole process, and has been a beacon of knowledge, not only when it comes to SMDC, but for the Army as a whole.