By Sgt. 1st Class Jason EppersonJanuary 18, 2018
Air Defense Soldiers assigned to Charlie Battery, 2nd Battalion, 263rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, South Carolina Army National Guard, arrived at Ramstein Air Base Jan. 16, 2017 for a nine-month deployment in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
Maj. Kyle Anderson, chief of plans assigned to 10th Army Air and Missile Defense said this is historic in that it is truly the beginning of maneuver short range air defense (SHORAD) returning to Army.
"They are the first step in re-building an atrophied Army skill and will help build the framework for not just follow-on rotational units, but for rebuilding divisional SHORAD battalions in the active duty Army," Anderson said.
"Short range air defense enables freedom of movement for maneuver units," Anderson said. "Unfortunately due to requirements of the Army over the last decade and half, the Army reduced the SHORAD force structure in order to build other enablers for the [counter-insurgence] environment. As the Army began to re-focus on near-peer and peer competitors it quickly realized that threat actors had increased their rotary wing, fixed wing, and UAS capabilities which left our maneuver units vulnerable to the third dimension with little capability to defeat the threat. Therefore, SHORAD is important because it provides a defense against part of the enemy's third dimension capability and enables friendly maneuver units to close with and destroy our enemies on the battlefield."
1st Lt. William Kimbrell, C Battery commander, said his unit's mission is a huge opportunity, especially for a National Guard unit, to come and get to solidify or put the pieces together of that 'one Army concept' that everybody is pushing for.
"We all wear the same uniform and it's an honor to have this opportunity as part of the South Carolina Army National Guard to come out and support such an important mission," Kimbrell said.
Kimbrell said there are some challenges between being stateside and [Outside Continental United States]
"From the minor details of the language barrier, the march-credits and all the different things that you have to fully understand to operate in a different country, we have our work cut out for us to learn those intricacies."
"It's a huge opportunity for both the National Guard and for big Army to get SHORAD back into EUCOM and for us to provide a proof of concept for how to do that to support a maneuver force. We are not having to re-invent the wheel, but we sure are having to dust it off and it's a wonderful opportunity to be selected to do this mission."
Pfc. Caleb Wagner, an Avenger crewmember assigned to Charlie Battery, 2-263rd ADAR said he has never been to Germany and looks forward to his unit's mission.
"This is great being able to travel and I look forward to doing this mission with people I consider family and be able to look after each other while hopefully doing our mission right."