Colorado soldiers who helped fight wildfires now headed to Middle East

DENVER -- Some Colorado soldiers are leaving their spouses and children to go serve their country overseas.  They're headed to the Middle East, where they'll use some of the same skills they honed fighting fires here in Colorado last summer to help protect our nation and our allies.

A departure ceremony for 1158th Space Support Company, 117th Space Battalion, was held at the Denver Armory over the weekend.

For family and friends, it's never easy watching Colorado's own deploy to one of the most volatile parts of the world.  But these members of the Colorado Army National Guard will play a crucial role in modern-day warfare.

"There are no better soldiers than this unit that I would like to deploy with over the next nine months, and it's truly an honor to serve with them," said Major Benjamin Eastep.

He's one of six members of the space support team deploying to an undisclosed location on the Arabian Peninsula.  They'll be joining the effort of thousands of others already in the Middle East as part of Task Force Spartan, helping our allies fight violent extremists.

These are not your normal soldiers. They work with high-tech, space age technology to help plan warfare, and ease troop movements.

"Space command supports the warfighter with products that come from space, some would say, but really anything that can come from a satellite," said Staff Sgt. Alexis Madrigal, a member of the team.  This is her fourth deployment.  She also served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

National Guard members are everyday Coloradans who leave their regular lives, jobs and families at a moment's notice when ordered to do so.

"It's hard on your family but we have a great support team to help them back home," said Madrigal.

Sometimes, their assignments are close to home.  Last summer the group used its scientific skills to help in the fight against the Spring Fire in southern Colorado - the third largest fire in Colorado history.

But whether near or far, they're ready to go.  And make their family, friends, and home state proud.

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