By Capt. Sallena SamuelOctober 25, 2018
SOUTHWEST ASIA Oct. 25, 2018 -- The forward-deployed 3rd Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery, Task Force Spartan, continues to defend against regional missile threats to U.S. forces in the Arabian Gulf region, while also preparing for future threats.
The 3-2nd ADA "Lethal Strike" Patriot battalion directs its attention to not only fulfilling mission requirements in Southwest Asia, but also training continuously for potential future missions against various enemies.
Army Doctrine, Field Manual 7-0, states units must, "Train to win in a complex world." The 3-2nd ADA consistently trains, even while deployed, to maintain its capabilities. With the ever changing threats throughout the world, the Army must consistently train and innovate to adapt as needed.
The battalion recently stressed its collective ability to train, while operating and performing simultaneous forklift and guided missile trailer live-missile reloads at two Patriot sites at a heightened alert state during the hours of darkness. This demonstration of skill proficiency and tactical expertise allows the unit to accurately gauge its capabilities in a real-world scenario where a missile reload is critical to defending an assigned asset.
"It's very important for commanders to create a learning environment for our subordinate leaders in order to develop their agility and adaptability through experience. My intent is to grow our junior leaders and afford them the opportunity to think critically and creatively to accomplish the mission. That is what is going to make the difference when the operational environment changes and our junior leaders are expected to execute the mission within the commander's intent." said Lt. Col. Pedro Camacho, 3-2nd ADA commander. "It is through our readiness successes that I am reminded of the pride and commitment of these outstanding Lethal Strike Soldiers and the network of families and friends back home who sacrifice and support them. I am very grateful for all their hard work and commitment to achieving excellence."
After action reviews follow the training to improve future operations. The 3-2nd ADA trains while operating during its mission to enhance readiness and further refine tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) as a result of the evolving operational environment.
"The 3-2 ADA Battalion, the tacticians, the standardization team, and the Patriot fire batteries are at the forefront of an evolving multi-front threat," said Capt. Daniel Coffield, fires direction center officer in charge for the 3-2 ADA.
"Constant planning and execution is being conducted to assess the viability of long-held Patriot fighting positions against emerging threat capabilities in the U.S. CENTCOM AOR," said Coffield.
These emerging threats include unmanned aerial systems (UAS) as well as improved ballistic missiles with different characteristics.
One of the Army's training principles, "Train as you fight," guides the battalion as it fulfills its mission while simultaneously training for future conflicts. A quick look at the current news broadcast throughout the world shows the increased tensions not only in Southwest Asia, but also in other locations. The potential for adversaries to test and launch new weapon systems and capabilities highlights the growing need for air defense operations across the globe. As the Patriot system is known for its ability to move at a moment's notice, the Lethal Strike battalion conducts mobility training to sustain readiness and train as they fight.
"Mobility is important; you must have operational equipment and agile Soldiers. This ultimately augments air and missile defense capabilities to defend critical assets," said 1st. Lt. Cristian Salazar, a 3-2nd ADA tactical director who works as the Patriot tactical command and control at the battalion level.
"Patriot mobility is a complex choreographed task to tactically mobilize more than 15 pieces of rolling stock [non-Patriot equipment vehicles] and the Patriot missile system," Salazar continues, "There are many things happening at the same time, so this requires agility in all aspects and requires every Soldier skill and tactical equipment capability that builds on the multi-echelon training concept."
Not only does the battalion train on mobility, and tactical convoy operations, but they also conduct monthly exercises to validate each unit's ability to fulfill the mission ensuring the units are "training to sustain." Air and missile defense crews are challenged to perform in various simulated air battle scenarios which ensures that the unit is always moving forward and preparing for emerging threats. Air and missile defense crews use the "train the fundamentals and train as you fight" principles to guide their air battle management, resulting in realistic training. These monthly exercises also serve to validate the TTPs.
In addition to the monthly exercise validations, the "Lethal Strike" Battalion also prioritizes weekly NCO led Army warrior time training to maintain their basic Army warrior tasks and skills. In conjunction with air and missile defense operations, the unit maintains readiness in common tasks such as weapons training, first aid, tactical communications, security operations, chemical response, and decontamination operations. The battalion recently held a weapons qualification range to qualify Soldiers and increase lethality. This qualification range ensured Soldiers' readiness to fight on the battlefield.
"The level of success of our battalion is based on our ability to balance air and missile defense operations, equipment readiness, personnel readiness, and the Army warrior tasks and skills required of all U.S. Soldiers" said Maj. Angel Rios-Pelati, the 3-2nd ADA operations officer. "We continue to train as we fight to ensure we are always ready for emerging threats."
Sustaining readiness and preparing for future threats are necessities for which the 3-2nd ADA strives to achieve during their deployment to the Army Central's area of operations. By conducting monthly training exercises, mobility training, and further refinement on TTPs based on intelligence updates, the "Lethal Strike" Battalion promotes the security of the Arabian Gulf region while improving tactical expertise.