By Sgt. La'Shawna CustomMarch 5, 2018
Fort Bliss, Texas -- As Exercise Roving Sands 18 continues, Delta Battery, 3-43 Air Defense Artillery Battalion, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, are in place and ready to provide coverage at their area of operation. The Soldiers continue to work and train hard, preparing themselves for the missions ahead.
"If you're in the rear and you're doing your daily operations, everyone is focused on their
individual task," said Sgt. Adam Driscoll, a Patriot launching station enhanced operator/maintainer and Delta Battery's system maintenance non-commissioned officer in charg. "One of the big benefits of Roving Sands is everyone is coming together and doing everything collectively. We're here to do what air defense does rather than individually."
Driscoll said the battery's mission for the last week of the February exercise was to bring all of the launchers into the entry control center, where the launchers would meet minimum engagement criteria. The unit also conducted site improvement and site security as they continued to dig in and lay concertina wire.
Driscoll said the exercise improves the unit's ability to be able to move troops and supplies quickly.
"We're also able to improve on where Observer/Controller-Trainers find deficiencies, including
if we're moving in a timely manner and meeting deadlines," said Driscoll. "Not only that but,
once we get to where we're going, are we able to set up a perimeter and make a Forward
Operating Base, or FOB. Based on how the unit performs, you go from there."
"We have good cohesion so we enjoy it," Driscoll continued. "We like getting out here turning
wrenches and making the best of it. My battery is doing well."
Delta Battery also ran crew change overs, duties for the quick reaction force, and security elements.
"We're enhancing readiness by training on Soldier tasks," said Capt. Kevin Correa, Delta Battery
commander. "As Patriots we don't do this very often. It allows us to practice force protection
aspects. Down range we generally don't do that. We focus more on Patriot operations and this
allows us to work on force protection while coordinating patriot operations."
3-43 Air Defense Artillery Battalion also continued to carry on with force protection, running security on convoys, and establishing security across a perimeter of a sector of fire while incorporating that with the air defense aspect during the exercise.
"Roving Sands is a great training opportunity," said Correa. "For the first time in a while, there
will be some kinks to work through. Altogether, it provides realistic training because you're
never going to have all of the answers anyway. You aren't always going to know what's
"We must prepare for the unexpected," said Correa. "When you get a general idea of what's
going to happen, you prepare for that and you adjust as the situation changes."
During Roving Sands, Spc. Nicole Malinowki, a petroleum supply specialist from Delta Battery,
said her job is to fuel all vehicles, provide security by monitoring who enters and exits the site,
and respond in the event enemies attack their FOB.
If enemies do attack, Malinowki and the other security detail will engage them right away.
Depending on a person's uniform, when someone approaches their site the security detail takes
"If they're wearing Operational Camouflage Pattern uniforms inside out, that's automatically an
enemy," said Malinowki. "We don't say anything. We automatically engage. We will fire. From
there, we call it up on the radio and give distant, direction and description of the subject."
"If there is a Civilian or a Soldier wearing the regular uniform correctly, we'll go up to the gate
and take their name and identification badge," said Malinowki. "We also see if they have a trip
ticket. If they don't, they wait while we take their ID to ensure the Tactical Operation Center allows them. Then we escort them to the TOC."
According to Chief Warrant Officer 2 Albert Levasseur, a Delta Battery maintenance officer
from Fort Bliss, the battery's FOB may get ambushed and the troops are supposed to react to
any outside contact. Their site has to be prepared to defend the asset that they were given.
"We don't get to do this all the time," said Levasseur. "It gives the younger Soldiers, non-
commissioned officers and officers the ability to do things we don't normally do. At the same
time, we're conducting operations that we're supposed to be doing, as far as setting up
equipment, maintaining an air picture and defending our assets."
Levasseur said the five and a half hour convoy ride helped him stay busy, because he had to make sure all of the equipment was ready to roll.
"Roving Sands keeps everyone polished on their certifications and skills," said Levasseur. "It's a
good opportunity for everyone to get out of their offices and motor pool to get dirty. We're
bettering ourselves and our equipment to become a better soldier."
Malinowki also feels that her unit is properly prepared to handle anything that comes their way.
"Everyone knows how to properly clean their weapons and we know how to properly use our
weapons in case we need to," said Malinowki. "If we ever come into contact, we all know how
to set up protection around the site. We know how to use our vehicles, stage them and set up
tents. We just know what we're doing."
"We all want to be properly prepared in case something happens or if we ever deploy," said
Malinowki. "Our 1st Sgt., commander, Sgt. Maj. and especially our battalion commander wants
to make sure we're always ready because we're a big family here. They don't want to see anyone get hurt."