By Sgt. 1st Class Claudio TejadaJune 30, 2017
KYOTANGO-SHI, KYOTO, Japan - The 14th Missile Defense Battery has a new leadership team. The "Hayabusa Battery" conducted a combined change of command and responsibility ceremony Monday, June 26, 2017.
Multiple local community leaders from the Kyoto Prefecture area, as well as, U.S. and Japanese senior military leaders attended the ceremony.
The new command team took over the unit's reins from outgoing commander, Maj. Sara Cardenas of Chicago, Ill. and 1st Sgt. Benjamin Sharp of Colorado Springs, Colo., the outgoing first sergeant.
"It is another beautiful day here in Kyogamisaki," said Brig. Gen. Sean A. Gainey, the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command commander, who officiated the ceremony.
Gainey applauded Cardenas and Sharp for their leadership while managing a unit in charge of defending both Japan and the U.S. Homeland. He also commended them on forging a strong relationship with the local community.
"Maj. Cardenas and 1st Sgt. Sharp have done an exceptional job during their command tour," said Gainey. "They have significantly improved unit readiness, Soldier well-being, and community relations."
Under Cardenas and Sharp's leadership the battery maintained a 100% operational state of the AN/TPY-2 radar. The outgoing team also planned and executed a guard and protect plan with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force's Middle Army, 3rd Division and 7th Infantry Regiment to develop contingency security plans to ensure continued mission operations.
Cardenas said long lasting relationship were built during her time in command with the Kyotango, Sodeshi, Owa and Shimazu communities and also the Japan Air, Ground and Maritime Forces, Japan Coast Guard and local city agencies.
"This has been the most rewarding experience I've had since I joined the Army 18 years ago," said Cardenas during her remarks to the ceremony attendees.
"First Sergeant Sharp, I want to thank you for the continuous support you gave this team," Cardenas continued. "Your emphasis on Soldiers and team care made my job easy. You were always willing to coach, teach and mentor. You were a first sergeant for the entire team, the Soldiers and civilian here at KCS [Kyogamisaki Communication Site] and the Soldiers and team we have in Hawaii."
Sharp talked about what he considers the vital element of his team, his Soldiers.
"We are a great team," said Sharp. "Soldiers of the 14th MDB, thank you for taking care of me over the last year. Your hard work and dedication has made me working with you one of my best experiences in over 21 years of service. Continue to be innovative and think outside of the box."
Gainey welcomed the incoming commander, Capt. Anton McDuffie of Tampa, Fla., and incoming first sergeant, 1st. Sgt. Myron Metcalf of Fayetteville, N.C.
"Anton and 1st Sgt. Metcalf are proven air defenders who have excelled in every position they have served in the Army and this is why they're going to assume command of this great unit." said Gainey. "I have full confidence and trust that you are ready to assume this important mission and I know you will continue taking this organization to new heights."
During the ceremony, Gainey also highlighted the unit's mission and their commitment to the regional security from threats in the Asia Pacific region.
"The 14th MDB conducts its integrated missile defense mission 24 hours a day, seven days a week by using the AN/TPY-2 radar to acquire, track, discriminate and estimate the trajectory of a threat before transmitting the information to any one of the firing units."