Okinawa, Japan - In support of the 35th Air Defense Artillery Patriot Surface to Air Missile System modernization upgrade, Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery (1-1 ADA) garrisoned out of Okinawa, Japan, provided air missile defense capabilities in the Korean peninsula. This opportunity afforded 1-1 ADA to validate their expeditionary capabilities through air, sea and land in demonstrating their readiness at a moment's notice.
Earlier this year Soldiers from Battery A 1-1 ADA, deployed to Suwon Air Base, Republic of Korea. The Soldiers deployed along with their equipment in tow after loading their Patriot missile equipment onto a C-17 Globe Master III from Okinawa, Japan.
1-1 ADA proved they're able to break down their equipment and transport their air defense systems in a matter of hours to defend critical assets in the Pacific area of operation. Their capability to quickly transport their air defense capabilities furthered enhanced 1-1 ADA's ability to maintain their 'Fight Tonight' readiness posture.
"The deployment of our unit to Korea is two-fold; first, we are providing the Fight Tonight capability for 35th Brigade," said Capt. Joshua T. Mitchell, commander, Battery A, 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment. "Second, it validates our readiness by proving we are capable of deploying to the Korean Peninsula and seamlessly integrating ... in order to provide air and missile defense."
While in support of the 35th ADA the Soldiers of 1-1 ADA used this opportunity to hone their air defense skills.
"We wanted to excel and learn as much as we could while we were deployed," said 1st Lt. Joseph Brown, executive officer, Battery B." We also, used this opportunity to perform Table XII Gunnery Certification with multiple crews certifying successfully."
After months of support and two battery rotations to the Republic of Korea the Soldiers of 1-1 ADA completed their mission and were ready to redeploy to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. With retrograding and redeployment activities, the Soldiers of 1-1 ADA sought the sea to make their journey back home.
Instead of C-17's the Soldiers loaded their air defense equipment onto a WestPac Express High Speed Vessel (HSV) from Pohang, Gyeongsang, Republic of Korea. The HSV affords commanders the benefit of being able to move large amounts of personnel and supplies quickly, Brown said.
Air or sea, the Soldiers of 1-1 ADA deployment to the Republic of Korea demonstrated the unit could successfully deployed their tactical air defense equipment validating their expeditionary capabilities.
"During the deployment, we successfully validated our capability to deploy and conduct tactical operations at the highest level of proficiency," said 1st Lt. Michael Marshall, fire control platoon leader Battery B."
Marshall said the lessons they learned in the last months will only improve 1-1 ADA capabilities to deploy our air defense assets either through air or sea to protect allies and preserve peace in the Pacific theater.