CAMP BUERHING, KUWAIT -- Members of Task Force Spartan's 29th Infantry Division headquarters 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 into a launching platform.

Capt. Alexandra Kilgore, of the 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, said she hoped the visit would help convey the complexities involved in planning and executing Air Defense operations to the 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 Headquarters Soldiers, the experience will help them provide support for subordinate brigades, build partner capacity and increase 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 Headquarters.
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 is complex and requires 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.

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 subordinate brigade needs is crucial to the success 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."