GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Nearly 200 North Dakota Army National Guard Soldiers completed a pre-certification assessment in Grand Forks and Bismarck, N. D., conducted by members of the 1st Battalion, 362nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, Task Force Renegade, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West; 263rd Army and Air Missile Defense Command; and 3rd Battalion, 265th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, Florida Army National Guard last month.

The pre-certification assessment is one of many events which will prepare these Soldiers for the crucial role of defending the National Capital Region in support of Operation Noble Eagle.

"The major piece of any pre-certification assessment is identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each crew," said Sgt. 1st Class Richard Wilson, Task Force Renegade master gunner. "This will allow the battalion to focus on crews that might need additional training."

The pre-certification assessment of air and missile defense Soldiers was conducted in a round-robin style evaluation consisting of visual aircraft recognition, general knowledge testing, march order and emplacement, missile reload, Stinger crew drills, convert to man-portable air defense systems, and site briefings.

Crews had the opportunity to rotate through each station throughout the assessment to become more familiar with the skills necessary to certify.

The pre-certification assessment for the air defense battle management system operator was conducted in Bismarck. These Soldiers braved below-freezing conditions to perform march order and emplacement of the Sentinel radar system, which is used to detect, track, identify and report airborne threats. The Soldiers were also evaluated on their ability to perform site briefings to visiting VIPs.

"The crews were able to use the expertise provided by Task Force Renegade and 3-265 ADA in order to come together as a team and start to perfect their craft," said Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Maneke, Task Force Renegade observer/controller trainer.

During the assessment, the Avenger, Sentinel, National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile and Joint Air Defense Operation Center crews gained valuable knowledge from Soldiers currently performing the NCR defense mission. The crews also gained insight from the Task Force Renegade OC/Ts and worked together as a team through the crew drill certification process.

Page last updated Wed March 13th, 2013 at 18:09