Brigade fires Patriot missiles in New Mexico
October 26, 2011
FORT SILL, Okla.--The 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade supported the Patriot Field Surveillance Program and fired 12 second-generation Patriot missiles on July 30 at McGregor Range, N.M.
Brigade leadership seized upon this rare opportunity as a chance to grow professional, multi-skilled and adaptive leaders who could conduct a deployment exercise in addition to firing live missiles. It would also serve as an occasion to validate recently qualified sections of the 4-3rd ADA Battalion to ensure home station training is as effective and efficient as possible. For the brigade staff, it provided an opportunity to design and develop effective battle staff procedures with the unique prospect of putting those procedures into practice. The deployment of the brigade from Fort Sill to McGregor Range would also validate individual Soldier and unit readiness.
The plan was designed to complete the mission in four-phases. On June 19, with the publication of the brigade operations order, phase one, preparation, began. Elements of 4-3rd ADA and the brigade headquarters began their preparations and individual planning for the deployment and live fire.
Phase two, movement, started July 20 when people and equipment started moving from Fort Sill. More than 155 Soldiers, in three separate movements, and 65 vehicles would travel more than 600 miles to McGregor Range. On July 27, everything was in place and ready for the live fire exercise.
On July 30, the brigade started phase three, live fire. Firing began at 10 a.m. and was finished at 2 p.m. In all, 12 missiles were fired. Eight from three launchers assigned to 4-3rd ADA, two by elements of 1-7th ADA and four by elements of the German Air Force Air Defense Center.
The brigade headquarters ensured that the exercise was coordinated and safely conducted.
Upon completion of the missile firing, phase four, redeployment, operations began. The various air defense units returned to their home posts. The brigade's long drive home to Fort Sill was finished on August 4. There, they conducted recovery operations, refined and updated tactics, techniques and procedures, and submitted collected missile data to LTPO.