By 1st Lt. Sallena Samuel, 3-2nd ADA Public AffairsJanuary 11, 2018
FORT SILL, Okla. (Jan. 11, 2018) -- Just 12 months after their most recent redeployment from the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) area of operations, the Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery "Lethal Strike" are once again preparing to deploy.
The "Lethal Strike" battalion Soldiers concluded their rigorous six-month training strategy achieving excellence during their culminating training event (CTE) while integrating future planned Patriot missile modernization capabilities into the fight.
The battalion executed a mission rehearsal exercise (MRE), Nov. 28 through Dec. 13, which certified the battalion's ability to activate its rear detachment, exercise it's Prepare to Deploy Order (PTDO) short notice Patriot Battery, and execute deployed split based mission command, engagement operations, and force operations from within the Fort Sill Mission Training Complex and training areas.
The MRE replicated every aspect of their planned real world deployment to the USCENTCOM area of operations. The battalion coordinated with the Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate (CDID) and contractors to integrate the Patriot modernization Dismounted Patriot Information Coordination Central (DPICC) capability.
In doing so, 3-2nd ADA became the first Patriot battalion to employ the DPICC during a mission rehearsal exercise. The DPICC relocates the battalion's Information Coordination Central (ICC) tactical weapons control system from a vehicle into an external shelter, providing the same capabilities as the original tactically mounted system, but enables flexibility for battalions with geographically separated missions.
The system serves as the battalion level tactical "command and control" center that directs identification and engagement orders to subordinate Patriot batteries.
Testing a new system can be challenging, however, the 3-2nd ADA proved to be up to this task.
"Using the Dismounted Patriot Information Coordination Central during the 3-2 ADA Mission Rehearsal Event accomplished three things. It validated Raytheon's approach, it proved the technology works in a real-world setting, and it allowed the user community to share lessons learned," said Nate Jones, Raytheon senior manager for Integrated Air and Missile Defense Product Support and Mission Support Systems. "This will ensure the technology is mission ready as each Army Air and Missile Defense Command considers employing the capability within their respective areas of responsibility."
The current forward deployed 1-7th ADA supported the MRE providing observer controllers and trainers to assist with battalion mission planning and execution. The forward team provided quality feedback to leadership, staff, and engagement crews on current theater tactics, techniques, and procedures to help visualize and understand the environment. Their constructive feedback increased the confidence of the battalion Soldiers for their upcoming mission.
"The Patriot weapon system is an invaluable asset not only to the U.S. Army but to the joint force," said Maj. Michael Woodhouse, 3-2nd ADA operations officer. "An opportunity to have external evaluators validate all the hard work and training the leaders and Soldiers have gone through is worthwhile. This exercise proved to be no exception."
The PTDO Battery conducted an emergency deployment readiness exercise initiated by an alert and recall and mission brief. The battery exercised its deployment sequence to validate actions and reporting procedures associated with the first 96 hours of deployment preparations.
The coordination and networking provided by the battery during this 96-hour sequence proved invaluable for all Soldiers who have not experienced a rapid deployment. It also built leadership and Soldier confidence with understanding the critical support relationship provided by the Fort Sill Installation support agencies.
The Fort Sill civilian team at the Logistics Readiness Center (LRC) provided amazing support and instilled confidence with supporting the deployment exercise while also conducting a real world Strategic Air deployment. The LRC provided realistic training using their weigh in motion system, which greatly expedites requirements for deploying vehicles. Following the completed 96-hour actions, the battery staged at the Headquarters Motor pool on a short tether to deploy to the local training area to replicate a real world deployment.
The PTDO Battery later deployed to the field and maximized training opportunity for real world operations. Soldiers were constantly challenged, while maintaining continuous Air Defense operations based off a modified eight-hour shift timeline.
"The battalion commander and I could not be more proud of the collective effort of every one of our Lethal Strike Soldiers who have been training over the last six months to reach this milestone in anticipation for the upcoming mission," said 3-2nd ADA Command Sgt. Maj. Tammy Coleman. "Lethal Strike Soldiers continue to amaze me daily with their work ethic, their ingenuity, their motivation, and their desire to be better than they were previously. They always make me proud to be their CSM."
Also evaluated during the MRE was the unit rear detachment. The mission of the detachment is to provide home-station support for the deployed unit while assuming the unit's garrison duties and requirements. Another vital mission of the detachment is to serve as a communications link and means of support between the deployed unit and family members.
During the MRE, rear detachment personnel worked through complex scenarios, such as the death of a service member that tested the leadership's ability complete each required task to standard within stringent timelines. The battalion family readiness adviser hosted a meeting with battery FRG spouse leaders to discuss current family readiness topics and share local Fort Sill and Lawton community updates.
"A solid, professionally involved rear detachment can make any deployment easier for the deployed Soldiers and their families. Just knowing that a valid support system exists relieves a lot of the stress," said Master Sgt. Douglas Middleton, 3-2nd ADA rear detachment noncommissioned officer in charge.
The culminating success of the battalion is the direct result of our engaged leaders at every level, the resiliency of the "Lethal Strike" Soldiers, and the support of our families that paved the way over the past six months of strenuous garrison and field training.
This battalion redeployed in December 2016, turned in their Patriot equipment to depot level reset from January through August 2017, and then did a rapid gunnery train up on equipment with new leaders and Soldiers.
"This was no easy accomplishment, but this outfit of highly motivated professionals made it happen because they are committed, and it is expected of them. You can honestly feel and see it -- Our Soldiers are more lethal, better trained, and families are better prepared as we move into our upcoming deployment," said Lt. Col. Pedro Camacho III, 3-2nd ADA commander. "Our motto of 'Lethal Strike' means more potent or effective; devastating, battle ready and that is what molds our 'Lethal Strike' Soldier and family member to be the best above all others."
The completion of the MRE signifies that the battalion is prepared and ready to deploy.
With a vision of the future still in mind, the Soldiers from the "Lethal Strike" battalion will continue to train to sustain the readiness that is paramount to mission success.