HOHENFELS - For over two weeks, Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 174th Air Defense Artillery Regiment maneuvered their Avenger Weapons Systems and engaged simulated enemy aircraft alongside over 5,500 troops during the force-on-force portion of the exercise from Nov. 26 to Dec 17.
16 nations participated in the biannual exercise, which is designed to assess and increase the readiness and lethality of the U.S. Army rotational forces, and build interoperability among allies and partners.
The exercise is conducted in two phases, the first focused on simulated combat operations at the Joint Multinational Training Center in Hohenfels, Germany. The second phase includes live-fire exercises and will take place at the Grafenwoehr Training Area from Jan. 13 - 25, 2019.
During the course of the exercise, Capt. Christopher Vasquez the battery commander for Charlie Battery, served in two roles, first in his primary role, and also as the brigade air defense officer for their higher headquarters during the exercise, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.
"It has been very eye opening," said Vasquez. "I am learning a great deal more seeing it from the brigade perspective."
Charlie battery out-maneuvered the opposing forces, successfully engaging 15 simulated enemy aircraft with the Avenger and Stinger systems while providing air defense to 8 assets deemed critical by 1-1 CAV.
Vasquez attributes the success of his unit to the diverse experience of his soldiers, many who have first-hand knowledge working with tanks such as those assigned to 1-1 CAV. "It's given us some insight into how they fight, and how they operate," explained Vasquez. "The type of unit we are attached to dictates how we establish our air defense plan, so if we don't understand how tanks maneuver, how they emplace, then we can't effectively do our job."
Capt. Cordtz Tuato'o, an observer controller trainer with 1st Battalion, 362nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment who has been providing mentorship and training for Charlie battery since August 2017, commended Charlie battery's performance during Combined Resolve.
"It is great watching the unit grow and evolve," said Tuato'o. "The unit has improved tremendously."
Throughout the exercise, Charlie battery had the opportunity to work with many of the 16 nations participating in the simulated combat operations, which allowed the unit to continue to build joint, multinational relationships and improve communication between the countries.
"There are many limiting factors that are outside of our control," said Vasquez. "But our soldiers have adapted very well, and have conducted their jobs very effectively. Having conducted this exercise at the outset of our mobilization and our time here in Europe, we will be able to substantially build upon those lessons learned."
Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 174th Air Defense Artillery Regiment is currently deployed to Grafenwoehr, Germany, in support of the Operation Atlantic Resolve. The deployment of ready, combat-credible U.S. forces to Europe in support of Atlantic Resolve is evidence of the strong and unremitting U.S. commitment to NATO and Europe. Through bilateral, joint and multinational training, Atlantic Resolve builds readiness and enhances the bond between ally and partner militaries.