KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- U.S. Army Europe's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense task force redeployed to their home stations in Germany and the U.S. from Romania after providing support to NATO's ballistic missile defense mission.
In April, the task force deployed to Naval Support Facility Deveselu, Romania, where they integrated into the existing NATO BMD architecture during a period of routine maintenance and upgrade of the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System located there.
"The successful deployment of THAAD to Romania demonstrates our commitment to support our Allies and the NATO Ballistic Missile Defense mission," said Brig. Gen. Gregory Brady, commander of 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command. "Missile defense is a vital element to the collective defense of Europe and is one of the U.S. military's top priorities. This deployment shows that we stand ready to surge combat credible air and missile defense forces when needed."
The scheduled update to Aegis Ashore -- Romania was part of regular updates taking place on all U.S. Aegis systems. Aegis Ashore -- Romania is designed to protect NATO allies and U.S. deployed forces in Europe against the growing threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles outside the Euro-Atlantic area. The update did not add any offensive capabilities to the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System.
10th AAMDC provided mission command of the THAAD task force. The task force also included 174th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, Ohio Army National Guard; 164th ADA Brigade, Florida Army National Guard; 69th ADA Brigade, 32nd AAMDC; 173rd Airborne Brigade, 7th Army Training Command; 35th Signal Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps; and 66th Military Intelligence Brigade, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command.
Soldiers from the 174th ADA planned and executed the movement of the task force more than 400 kilometers across Romania from arrival at Mihail Kogaliceanu Air Base to NSFD. This was the longest ground transport conducted for a THAAD system outside of the continental United States to date, demonstrating the U.S. military's ability to rapidly move vital equipment internationally.
"To have an opportunity to be a part of something historic is one of the benefits of being in the military," said Master Sgt. James Redd, 174th ADA senior enlisted leader. "Bringing THAAD to Romania for the first time and emplacing its capabilities in the actual air defense architecture is pretty unique. It's an honor to be a part of this accomplishment."
The successful integration of THAAD, and handover of operational control to NATO's Allied Air Command, not only provided deterrence against potential adversaries, but strongly demonstrated U.S. commitment to the defense of our allies and partners.
Lt. Col. Sean Kelleher, the task force commander, said the professionalism and proficiency of the Soldiers facilitated the on-time completion of updates to the Aegis Ashore system.
"The team recognized what an important mission this was and why we needed the right people on the ground," Kelleher said. "Working with the Navy and our Romanian allies has really been a joy for the team. The Navy and the Romanians could not be more accommodating," he said about their hosting the Army on the remote Navy facility.
Following completion of the maintenance and updates on the Aegis Ashore system, the 164th ADA Commander Maj. Tina Madovoy assumed command of the task force.
According to Madovov, supporting the NATO BMD mission not only demonstrated U.S. commitment to the alliance, but also provided an important opportunity to test the joint interoperability of our missile defense systems.
The U.S. resumed control of THAAD from NATO Aug. 9 and the 164th ADA commenced task force redeployment activities immediately via line haul, airlift and sealift operations.
"164th ADA Brigade's measure of success is the safe and timely redeployment of all Soldiers and equipment to their home stations," Madovoy said.