By U.S. Army Master Sgt. Sean McCollum, 29th ID Public Affairs April 19, 2017
CAMP BUERHING, KUWAIT -- Members of Task Force Spartan's 29th Infantry Division recently toured a Patriot Air Defense Artillery Site here to obtain an on-the-ground overview briefing of Air Defense Artillery capabilities. The Soldiers toured the facilities of the 4th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery. This included elements of the Engagement Control Station, Battery Command Post, Electric Power Plant, and Radar sections. Members of the unit even demonstrated a reload of Patriot missiles to a launching platform.
Capt. Alexandra Kilgore, of the 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, said she hoped the visit would demonstrate the complexities involved in planning and executing Air Defense operations to the Intermediate Division Headquarters personnel.
"When we're talking about Air Defense, we are literally talking about rocket science," said Kilgore. "There is no room for mistakes or deviations from the standards."
For 29th Division Soldiers, the experience will help in providing support for subordinate brigades, building partner capacity, and increasing interoperability across Task Force Spartan's area of responsibility.
Attendees included planners, mapmakers, operations specialists, and cyber-electromagnetic activity personnel from the 29th Infantry Division.
Planners built a personal perspective on the unique needs for future sites and improving existing ones. The expeditionary nature of a Patriot Battery may lead planners to assume that establishing a site is as easy as driving a launching platform into place. However, logistical requirements showed planners that site planning was complex and required system integration expertise.
"I had a false assumption that mobile means compact," said Capt. Richard Gear, a planner with the Division. "The space a site needs is a big planning consideration."
Gear also appreciated the knowledge the Air Defense Artillery Soldiers were required to retain.. Patriot system operators must successfully complete a complex series of certifications semi-annually in order to remain in their assigned positions and conduct the mission.
For Master Sgt. Julie Wells, a cartographer with the Division, the visit gave her an opportunity to put a 3-Dimensional visual on her 2-dimensional mapping products.
"This lets me put eyes on the equipment, the setup of the site," Wells said. "It's good to see things like slope, range and terrain myself."
"Gaining an on-the-ground understanding of the needs of subordinate Brigades is crucial to the success of an Intermediate Division Headquarters," said Brig. Gen. John Epperly, the deputy commander of Task Force Spartan.
"We are here to support the Brigades," Epperly said. "I'm glad we were able to get a better understanding of their needs through site visits like this."