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25 SRS WWI artifact returns home

The 25th Space Range Squadron possesses 25 SRS artifacts dating back to World War I. The insignia on the current squadron emblem is the same distinctive insignia that first appeared on WWI Army Air Service biplanes. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Darren Domingo)

The 25th Space Range Squadron possesses 25 SRS artifacts dating back to World War I. The insignia on the current squadron emblem is the same distinctive insignia that first appeared on WWI Army Air Service biplanes. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Darren Domingo)

25th Space Range Squadron donors present their World War I artifacts and their newest addition, a WWI helmet, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. Nearly two dozen former and current 25 SRS members pooled resources to purchase the helmet, looking to restore the historical item its home unit. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Darren Domingo)

25th Space Range Squadron donors present their World War I artifacts and their newest addition, a WWI helmet, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. Nearly two dozen former and current 25 SRS members pooled resources to purchase the helmet, looking to restore the historical item its home unit. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Darren Domingo)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

The 25th Space Range Squadron traces its linage to a unit formed nearly 100 years ago, then known as the 25th Aero Squadron, which was activated at Camp Kelly, Texas, June, 1917.  The 25 SRS still maintains the distinctive insignia that first appeared on Army Air Service biplanes but has reinvented itself many times throughout the years, serving previously as a bombardment squadron, strategic training squadron, flying tactics squadron, training squadron and space control tactics squadron.

With an eye toward commemorating the organization’s 100-year history, a 25 SRS member was surprised to find a World War I helmet, hand painted with the squadron’s logo and original designation “25 Aero,” come up for sale at an online website.  Wanting to ensure the helmet returned to its proper home, a group of current and past unit members pooled their resources to purchase the helmet and donate it to the squadron.

“I’m grateful to the nearly two dozen contributors. I think the helmet is an inspiring representation of the unit’s heritage,” said Lt. Col. Anthony Zilinsky, 25 SRS commander.  “It signifies unit pride as well as represents our predecessors being in harm’s way while performing the mission.” 

According to a plaque located in the National World War I Museum and Memorial, the vast majority of unit logos were hand painted on helmets after the cessation of hostilities because beforehand, enemies could gain information from seeing the insignias, an early operations security consideration.  After the November 1918 Armistice, Airmen began individualizing their helmets with painted insignias, maps, camouflage patterns and battle scenes.  Some helmets were painted by German prisoner-artisans on commission from deployed American troops.

The 25th Space Range Squadron is a Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, tenant unit assigned to the Nevada Test and Training Range, Air Force Warfare Center, Air Combat Command.  In conjunction with its sister squadron and reserve associate, the 379th Space Range Squadron, members of the 25 SRS maintain and operate the nation's only space test and training range, providing Department of Defense customers a safe and secure environment for space systems testing, training and exercise activities. 

The 25 SRS’s mission relies heavily on mission partners to execute their mission. Teamed up organizations such as the Superiority Directorate of Air Force Space Command’s Space & Missile Center Space and Air Combat Command’s 414th Combat Training Squadron, Space Range professionals plan, provide and coordinate capabilities to address the growing demand to advance multi-domain multi component readiness through exercises such as Red Flag at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.  Additionally, when partnered with its 527th and 26th Space Aggressor Squadron counterparts, Airmen from the 25th/379th Space Range Squadrons travel around the world to prepare our Joint forces to carry out their missions in a contested, degraded, and operationally limited environment in exercises like U.S. Pacific Command’s Valiant Shield and U.S. European Command’s Austere Challenge.

The unit plans more 100-year commemorative events as June approaches.  Former 25 SRS members can contact Tech. Sgt. Ryan Herter at DSN 560-0620, or commercially (719) 567-0620 if they’re interested in participating or providing any other historical artifacts.

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