Tactical Ballistic Missile (TBM) threats remain a top concern within the U.S Indo-Pacific Command and 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command (94th AAMDC) stationed at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam. Lt. Col. Johannes E. Castro, commander of the Task Force Talon team, is responsible for maintaining upper tier missile defense operations, from their location on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
Task Force Talon is widely recognized for its unique strategic air and missile defense capability better known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.
This advance air defense capability is part of a global posture that synchronizes partnerships, strategic defense planning, and joint Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) operations within the Pacific region. Currently, THAAD is supporting the homeland defense of Guam and shares an intricate mission with Navy Aegis ships, providing upper tier defense of critical strategic assets and friendly forces in order to counter medium and long range ballistic missile threats.
This year for the first time, Task Force Talon participated in two major exercises that focused on partnership, joint readiness and improvements in strategic missile defense operations. Members from the Task Force Talon shared their expertise with joint services and key leaders, allowing them the opportunity to synchronize and facilitate BMD efforts in order to enhance strategic operational planning efforts.
Juniper Cobra 18
Juniper Cobra is a U.S. European Command bilateral exercise that enhances coordination between U.S. and Israel Defense forces. This annual training emphasizes on a variety of computer-assisted simulations that range from ballistic missile threats to crisis supply, foreign disaster response, and foreign humanitarian assistance. However, the focal point of Juniper Cobra still remains to be the ability to integrate and synchronize various missile defense capabilities that range from Patriot, Aegis, Iron Dome, and Arrow within an austere environment.
Soldiers from E-3 ADA (THAAD) participated in the annual combined military exercise between Israel and the United States European Command with a focus on strengthening military partnership against regional threats.
"Juniper Cobra was the most challenging and stimulating exercise I have been involved in since becoming a Tactical Control Officer," said Army 1st Lt. Spencer R. Morris, E-3 battery executive officer.
Members from Task Force Talon facilitated various training objectives from synchronizing planning efforts to simulating missile engagements.
"The joint exercise embodied several key learning points ranging from a better understanding of joint brevity to the significance of coordination between all shooters and the air defense artillery fire control officers," said Spencer.
Resilient Shield 18
Resilient Shield is a joint exercise that focuses on realistic BMD operations shared between Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces, Japan Air Self-Defense Forces, U.S. Navy 7th Fleet, U.S. Air Force 613th Air Operation Center, and 94th AAMDC. During the exercise warfighters train on operational integrated air and missile defense, surface warfare, and anti-submarine warfare in order to help shape and improve detailed planning requirements, precision ship stationing and quick defensive reaction measures.
This year members from Task Force Talon took the opportunity to conduct tactical level warfighter coordination for upper tier engagements between Aegis BMD and THAAD weapon systems. This allowed the operators to exercise the Joint Kill Chain and become more proficient with coordinating engagements with joint and bilateral partners.
"Resilient Shield provided us with a good opportunity to look at how we integrate into the joint and combined operational environment," said Army Chief Warrant Officer Richard D. Burton.
"We conducted coordinated engagements with Aegis and Patriot from Guam and Japan by executing ballistic missile defense firing doctrine, TBM [tactical ballistic missile] discrimination, and coordination through the air operations center." Burton continued referring to actions by his team throughout the exercise.
Over the next year, Task Force Talon will continue to expand their partnership in various key multinational exercises in order to maintain their mission readiness, and allow the joint community to better understand, prepare, and integrate missile defense capabilities within the region. This advanced BMD technology remains a vital role in the efforts to protecting troops, coalition partners, and critical assets as the unit continues to execute the Homeland Defense of Guam. "Stands Ready!"