REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command has named its three 2022 Civilians of the Year.
Erica Brinker, a G-4 logistics management specialist located at Peterson Space Force Base, Colo., is the supporting staff Civilian of the Year; Theresa A. Baht, Space and Missile Defense School training specialist, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is the professional/technical Civilian of the Year; and Daryl D. Breitbach, Space and Missile Defense School director, is the technical/technical management Civilian of the Year.
Brinker was a crucial team member involved in the transfer of the U.S. Army Satellite Operations Brigade to the Space Force. She singlehandedly orchestrated the inventory and reconciliation of five separate outlying operations in the preparation of and inclusion in the actual equipment transfer. She is also involved in the Space and Missile Defense Center of Excellence effort to develop a maintenance warehouse in Colorado Springs.
Brinker has overseen the turn-in of more than $500,000 worth of USASMDC property, reducing excess within the command by 35 percent. She manages a property book valued in excess of $30 million and issued equipment worth more than $1 million as part of a team.
“Being named Civilian of the Year is a tremendous honor and privilege,” Brinker said. “It means that my hard work and dedication to my organization and community have been recognized and appreciated.”
Brinker said she was surprised at the award but that it was a great feeling to know her contributions made a positive impact.
“It means a lot for my career because it shows that my efforts have been noticed and appreciated by my colleagues and superiors,” she added. “This recognition motivates me to continue to work hard and strive for excellence in everything I do.”
In her personal time, Brinker is a member of the International Society of Logistics and the Quartermaster Association, she contributes to disadvantaged families and visits Soldiers and veterans in care facilities.
“My advice to new civilian employees is to stay focused on their goals and be willing to go the extra mile,” Brinker said. “Take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow, and don't be afraid to ask questions or seek guidance from experienced individuals. Building strong relationships with coworkers and staying positive and professional in all situations will help create a supportive and productive work environment.”
Brinker said she was humbled at receiving the award.
“I would like to thank my amazing team for their support and encouragement, as well as my organization for recognizing my contributions,” she said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to work with such a talented and dedicated group of individuals.”
Baht honed in on the Army requirement to provide Army-wide space-focused training and education support to 38 professional military education functional, qualification and specialty courses at schools across each of the Army’s 10 Centers of Excellence and proponent schools. Baht led a team from across USASMDC and the Intelligence COE to develop space-focused curriculum to ensure the Army’s intelligence technical experts understand how intelligence supports space and vice-versa.
She has identified six advanced courses across three Army COEs that would benefit from the integration of space-focused training and education. Baht guided the integration of tailored space curriculum for the Patriot Top Gun Course, Field Artillery Technician Course, National Guard Bureau’s Eastern and Western Army Aviation Training Site, the Scout Leader Course and Recon and Surveillance Leader Course. These major efforts are a huge step in normalizing and institutionalizing space training and education across the Total Army as directed in Army Regulation 900-1 and the Army Space Training Strategy.
“Being named civilian of the year means that I have received the encouragement and mentorship of my leadership and have been supported by an amazing team who challenges me to learn and grow as a professional,” Baht said. “This is really a recognition for my entire team, I don’t think I would be as successful in my professional career if I was not surrounded by smart, hardworking people who let me lead but still take the time to teach and guide me when needed."
Baht said she appreciates the recognition and is grateful that her leadership nominated her.
“I’ve been with SMDC in some capacity since 2013 and I plan on staying in the organization as long as possible, so it is nice to see that my efforts are being recognized by the command,” Baht said. “It also serves as a motivator to keep progressing in my career and helping the command achieve their mission.”
Baht volunteers at the Dumb Friends League helping to prepare dogs for adoption and served the National Mill Dog Rescue saving animals from overpopulated and mismanaged breeding mills. Additionally, she spends multiple weekends over the winter chopping thousands of pounds of firewood for low-income families and the elderly. She maintains close ties to her hometown, where she donates toys for the town’s low-income families.
Breitbach leads the Space and Missile Defense School. He provides senior-level leadership to more than 8,000 space and missile defense students attending training to support seven mission areas at more than 10 geographically dispersed locations, and he manages mentorship and counseling programs for 131 cadre members within the school.
Breitbach formulates and provides strategic direction, policies, and plans to address the complexity of training and educating of the Army and joint space and missile defense forces today and into the future. He provides strategic and operational recommendations to senior Army and command leaders and external stakeholders regarding Army training, leader development, and doctrine for space and missile defense missions.
“I am greatly honored to represent SMDC as a Civilian of the Year,” Breitbach said. “None of us achieve our professional accomplishments and goals without the support of those around us. Family, friends, and SMDC team members are crucial to our career success. Throughout my career in SMDC and specifically within the Center of Excellence, Space and Missile Defense School, I’ve had the honor of working with a fantastic team. My success results from their talent, hard work, and dedication to providing Army-wide space and missile defense training and education.”
Breitbach also serves as a U.S. Army Reservist. He is a long-standing member of the Army Space Professional Association – Rocky Mountain Chapter. He was recognized in receiving the Silver Order of Saint Dominic for his contributions throughout his career to the Army space community. He is currently attending the National War College’s Eisenhower School.
“I advise new employees to ask many questions to learn about the command and its diverse mission areas,” Breitbach said. “Attend the Army Space and Missile Defense School’s Army Space Cadre Basic Course and Ground-based Missile Defense Basic Course early in your assignment to SMDC. Find a mentor within the command. Leverage the wide variety of professional development opportunities within SMDC and the Army and embrace a professional philosophy of life-long learning.”
Breitbach said the school has had several nominations and selections for Civilian of the Year, and he encourages supervisors to nominate exceptional team members for this and other awards.
“It’s a simple yet impactful way to recognize and reward the contributions of remarkable team members,” he said.