BAHRAIN--Maj. Gen. Blake C. Ortner, 29th Infantry Division commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Smith, visited Operation Spartan Shield Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment and the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment April 24, 2017 in Bahrain. During the visit, select Soldiers from U.S. air defense and security force elements based in the island state briefed Ortner and Smith on their mission and their area of operations.
Smith emphasized the importance of being able to visit Soldiers where they live and work. He explained that these visits give leaders a look at the environment from the Soldiers' viewpoint and the chance to speak directly to them. "I can listen to a liaison officer tell me about what a unit is doing, and how they are doing and the exercise they have coming up," said Smith. "But you don't get a true outlook until you get on the ground."
The Task Force Spartan command team started their battlefield rotation by stopping by the 1st Bn., 43rd ADA Regt. headquarters where Soldiers detailed their responsibilities, which included providing logistics and maintenance support. The team then visited Soldiers at two Patriot missile sites where they got to see Soldiers performing their individual missions and get a look at the everyday life of these Soldiers.
Spc. Andres Zuelta, a newly-tapped briefer for Troop C, 1st Bn. 12th Cav. Regt., presented his first ever brief to the general and command sergeant major. Despite being a bit nervous, Zuelta said he thought it went well.
"I've been practicing by writing things down and repeatedly going over the brief at the sand table," said Zuelta. "The work paid off and it went better than I expected."
Following his brief, Ortner and Smith congratulated Zuelta on a job well done and presented him with a coin.
"It always amazes me the amount of information that our young Soldiers can retain," said Smith. "They are smart young Soldiers and if you give them task, conditions and a purpose they see how important it is and how their role contributes to the mission."