DVIDS – News – Profiles in Space – The Path to “Guardian” – Army Command Sgt. Major Jeffery Grela transfers to the US Space Force

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Fort Carson, Colo .– Army Command Sgt. Major Jeffery Grela was raised in Star Wars in the 1970s and 1980s, sparking a long-standing fascination with the cosmos. As fate would have it, he would be one of the few elected in the initial framework to occupy the highest rank of the US Space Force, the new branch of the military entirely devoted to the space field.

Grela and five other soldiers assigned to the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s 53rd Signal Battalion will separate from the military and transfer to the Space Force on October 1. Grela was one of 3,700 Soldiers, Sailors and Marines who volunteered to join the Space Force in March 2021, and he was later selected as one of the first 50 to become a “Guardian,” the term used by the service to designate their staff.

“It’s very exciting because it’s the ability to be part of the story,” Grela said of the crossover. “I have always been impressed with the Air Force’s first aviators over 70 years ago, so being a part of them and in a space-oriented service is a whole new and exciting chapter in my life. “

It is a life that has seen the majority of his life spent in the military. Grela joined a year before graduating from high school when he enlisted in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard in 1991 as a combat engineer and traditionally served (a weekend per month, two weeks per year) for three years. After a two-year break in service as a machinist, he then joined the Army on active duty as an Air Defense Artillery Soldier stationed in Darmstadt, Germany, for his first duty station.

While in Germany he met the NCO in charge of the Joint Tactical Ground Station unit in Stuttgart who guided him on the Army’s path to space and a new objective for his career.
Since 1998, Grela has served in SMDC. From 1998 to 2000, he was the Team Leader of the Joint Tactical Ground Station in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
From 2004 to 2011, he held senior positions under SMDC, attached to the 112th Special Operations Signal Battalion and the Joint Communications Support Element – a joint forces expeditionary communications provider with the rare ability to ” operate at the tactical, operational and strategic levels. Here he supported the special ops community, where he was more overseas than at home.

“The JCSE is probably the best unit I’ve ever been a part of,” said Grela. “It was great working with the communicators from all four services and getting to work with the entire special operations mission.”
Grela traveled to many countries in the Middle East during his time at JCSE and at times felt like he really got into the culture by getting to know the locals – a unique experience few servicemen have to. do in a lifetime.

After stops at the Defense Information Systems Agency in Fort Meade, Md., And Sergeants Major Academy in Fort Bliss, Texas, Grela returned overseas to be the sergeant major of the 2nd Signal Battalion of the NATO in Naples, Italy.
Other primary sergeant roles include 1st Theater Support Command at Fort Knox, Ky., And U.S. Army Central Command at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. And, for now, Grela will simply stay in Colorado Springs.

“From 100 kilometers above Earth to infinity, this is the area that Space Force will be interested in,” Grela said. “Four service branches are coming together to create something new, which will then take over this area and all of these services at the same time. ”

When asked if he was going to miss the military, Grela said he didn’t consider it necessarily to be leaving the older branch of the military.

“I’m just going to support it from a different angle,” he said. “I will always be a soldier at heart supporting the military and adding the flavor of military culture to the Space Force.”

Beginning in fiscal 2022, the Department of the Army will transfer some satellite operations functions to the US Space Force. This transfer includes the five broadband satellite communications operations centers, four regional satellite communications support centers, consolidated satellite communications systems experts and 502 associated manpower authorizations. SMDC will continue to support the SATOPS transition and Soldiers with administration and training throughout the exercise.

Date taken: 10.01.2021
Date posted: 10.01.2021 14:00
Story ID: 406522
Site: CO, United States

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