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Civic leaders gain insight into Colo. Guard’s state, national roles

Members of the Colorado Thirty Group tours Colorado National Guard facilities across the state and learned about some of the Colorado National Guard’s key missions Jan. 18, 2012. The group travelled by Colorado Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to visit Colorado Air National Guardsmen from the 137th Space Warning Squadron in Greeley, Colo., and the 140th Operations Support Squadron’s Airburst Range on Fort Carson, Colo., where the civilians learned of the key missions and skills the Colorado Guard provides the state and nation. At Fort Carson, civic leaders then observed a demonstration of this capability when active duty Air Force joint tactical air controllers on the ground provided targeting guidance and command authority for F-16 pilots in the skies above to drop simulated ordnance on specific training targets. (Official Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Cheresa D. Theiral)

Members of the Colorado Thirty Group tours Colorado National Guard facilities across the state and learned about some of the Colorado National Guard’s key missions Jan. 18, 2012. The group travelled by Colorado Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to visit Colorado Air National Guardsmen from the 137th Space Warning Squadron in Greeley, Colo., and the 140th Operations Support Squadron’s Airburst Range on Fort Carson, Colo., where the civilians learned of the key missions and skills the Colorado Guard provides the state and nation. At Fort Carson, civic leaders then observed a demonstration of this capability when active duty Air Force joint tactical air controllers on the ground provided targeting guidance and command authority for F-16 pilots in the skies above to drop simulated ordnance on specific training targets. (Official Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Cheresa D. Theiral)

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Members of a key civic group toured Colorado National Guard facilities across the state and learned about some of the Colorado National Guard's key missions Jan. 18.

The Colorado Thirty Group travelled by Colorado Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to visit Colorado Air National Guardsmen from the 137th Space Warning Squadron in Greeley and the 140th Operations Support Squadron's Airburst Range on Fort Carson, where the civilians learned of the key missions and skills the Colorado Guard provides the state and nation.

The 137th SWS is the oldest and largest Air National Guard space Warning Squadron, and a unique unit with a one-of-a-kind unit mission. As a mobile, survivable and endurable organization, it provides immediate, worldwide missile warning, space launch and nuclear detonation detection to the National Command Authority.

One of its state missions, noted by Air National Guard Lt. Col. Greg White, 137th SWS commander, is to provide transport capabilities. As part of their training, the Greeley Guardsmen help transport medical supplies for the state's annual 9Health Fair. The spring event provides free and low-cost health awareness and educational screenings to individuals across the state.

At Fort Carson, civic leaders then observed a demonstration of this capability when active duty Air Force joint tactical air controllers on the ground provided targeting guidance and command authority for F-16 pilots in the skies above to drop simulated ordnance on specific training targets.

"We help sharpen the spear. Everyone comes and hones their skills here before they go to war," said Air National Guard Master Sgt. Erick Ladegard, a range operator at Range 123. "We provide personnel, facilities and scenarios that directly mimic the battlefield. Our job is to provide the most realistic training our guys - of all services - can get."

The Colorado Thirty Group comprises leaders who were either chairmen or presidents of their businesses, or civic leaders of substance, and is broadly representative of those throughout the State of Colorado who will play significant roles in decisions that will affect Colorado's future.

"We've never failed to answer the call of our nation - ever," said Colorado Adjutant General Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, who led the tour. "If we're asked, if were allowed by law, we'll be there. If you look at our history, we're a militia nation."

Participants include representatives from industry, leading area nonprofits and civic leaders from communities around the state. Participants are concerned about U.S. national security policies and are eager to spend time and effort gaining additional information on defense issues and the concerns of local military installations.

"Please know how proud we are of our Guard and the pride we, the citizens of Colorado, take in you and the job you're doing," said Christian Anschutz, vice chairman of the organization, following the tour.

The Colorado Thirty Group works closely with Colorado area commanders to assist them in fulfilling their missions and roles by creating better understanding and education between military and civilian leadership throughout Colorado through frequent meetings, briefings and visitations.