By Sgt. Kimberly MenziesMarch 5, 2015
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam - Task Force Talon's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery, Battery A, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, passed the defense of Guam mission to Btry. D, 2nd ADA, during a transfer of authority ceremony March 4, 2015, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
"The Alpha, 2nd ADA "Gunslingers" have completed the last 12 months of a long-duration critical strategic mission, providing tactical ballistic missile defense of the island of Guam against any potential threats," said Lt. Col. Clyde Cochrane III, the commander of Task Force Talon, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command during his remarks. "This mission has become increasingly important as the United States military continues to rebalance towards the Pacific theater of operations."
Alpha battery deployed to Guam in March 2014, the battery maintained a high level of readiness while making critical changes to its procedures and to Site Armadillo.
"Over the past year, we successfully condensed the tactical site to a more streamlined area," said Capt. Joseph McCarthy, the commander of Battery A, 2nd ADA and native of Bronx, New York. "We also developed and refined many of our tactics, techniques and operating procedures, in order to be ever vigilant in defending Guam from any potential tactical ballistic missile threats."
During their time deployed to Guam, the Gunslingers accomplished several historic achievements.
The summer after arriving on the island, the battery conducted air battle certification of all its crew personnel and completed a THAAD defense plan. Early in the fall, the unit participated in Valiant Shield, an inter-service, international training exercise in the Pacific region - a first for any U.S. Army unit.
The battery also developed a new training standard for live interceptor pallet constitution, received new interceptors on the island and utilized U.S. Army personnel to conduct the task of pallet construction, again another historic first.
"We updated training procedures and conducted operational readiness exercises in an effort to hone our skills and to continually maintain a high level of mission readiness," said McCarthy.
Though the changes were direct and immediate for the battery while in Guam, they would be instrumental in a thorough mission transfer to Delta battery while also shaping the future of THAAD.
"The battery continued to refine the tactics, techniques and procedures for forward-stationed THAAD operations, and have since passed those TTPs back to their sister units and even the newly established THAAD school house at Fort Sill, Okla.," said Cochrane.
"We had a really condensed transition when we assumed the mission here in Guam 12 months ago," said McCarthy. "We wanted to make sure that we were able to provide a thorough change over with Delta, 2nd ADA.... Some of the changes or procedures we put in place allowed us to facilitate a more manageable transition."
"The procedures that Alpha, 2nd ADA has put into practice, have definitely facilitated positive growth within THAAD but also made this transition into our rotation more efficient and seamless," said Capt. Candace Hill, the commander of Btry. D, 2nd ADA. "Updating the site, making it easier to conduct training, definitely played a part in our proficiency during our mission assumption validation."
The ceremony signified the official completion of the outgoing unit's mission and clearance to return home, and acceptance by the incoming unit to continue the defense of Guam.
"We have trained for this mission and we are confident and ready to do our part in providing tactical ballistic missile defense to Guam against any potential threats," said Hill.
"Delta, 2nd ADA is an excellent unit," shares McCarthy. "They came in ready to soak up any information we could provide and their dedication and motivation coupled with their tactical proficiency is what will propel them to continued achievements for THAAD."