Story by 1st Lt. Ashli Malone, 5-4 ADA
KATTERBACH, Germany-- On April 16, 2020 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, the Air Defense Artillery Avenger Master Gunner Course graduated its latest class of nine students, one of which made history. Staff Sgt. Tiana Trent, a native of Canton Ohio, is celebrated as the first African-American female to attend and complete the course since its origin.
Trent is an Avenger Crew Member (14P) serving as a squad leader in Charlie Battery, 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment located in Ansbach, Germany, the Army’s only Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD) battalion. After 11 years of service in Air Defense, to include three deployments to Iraq and one to Afghanistan, Trent eagerly accepted the challenge of becoming an Avenger Master Gunner, one of the highest honors in the SHORAD community.
Her journey to complete the Master Gunner Course began in February during the unit’s Avenger Master Gunner Course train-up where she quickly learned that her determination and will power would soon be put to the test.
“It’s unbelievable!” exclaimed Trent when asked how she felt about making history in the Air Defense community. She is one of five females to complete the course and the first African-American female to do so.
The Avenger Master Gunner Course consists of 35 days of rigorous, knowledge-packed training to turn Avenger Crew Members into subject matter experts on their weapon system who are equipped to strengthen readiness at the lowest unit level.
Students not only learn detailed hands-on aspects of the weapon system such as productive trouble-shooting, safety parameters, and maintenance procedures, but also effective use and emplacement of the weapon system to accomplish any given mission.
Completing the Avenger Master Gunner course not only allowed Trent to gain an in-depth understanding of her weapon system’s functions and employability but also instilled valuable skills which will assist her in the Maneuver-SHORAD fielding and transition.
Brig. Gen. Gregory Brady, commander of 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, said that Staff Sgt. Trent exemplifies the best of who we are in 10th AAMDC. “I am eager to see how she will use her new expertise to train other Soldiers and enhance the unit’s capabilities; paving the way for the new M-SHORAD fielding in Fiscal Year 2021,” Brady said.
The Stryker-based M-SHORAD system will provide better protection of maneuver forces at increased ranges and with exponentially improved mobility.
Upon hearing of her accomplishment, Lt. Col. Todd Daniels, commander of 5-4 ADA, said: “We are proud of all of our Non-Commissioned Officers who have passed the Avenger Master Gunner Course,” said Daniels. “I am exceptionally pleased that Staff Sgt. Trent was able to become the first African-American female to earn the title of Avenger Master Gunner and serve as an example for so many others to follow.”
To aspiring Avenger Master Gunners, Trent urges service members to cultivate a positive support system and remain “humble and hungry” while relying on drive and self-determination to propel you to success. Staff Sgt. Trent remains eager for more opportunities and challenges to better herself and her organization.
Trent believes that her success in the course is a valuable step in the right direction for more representation of female service members within this elite group in the Air Defense community. She is proud of her accomplishment and is hungry for more opportunities to blaze trails, as she embraces the mantra, “No excuses, failure is not an option.”
Her leadership and her Soldiers within Chaos Battery and 5-4 ADA are proud of her incredible milestone and look forward to seeing her succeed in the future.
U.S. Army Europe ensures the consistent availability of combat-credible U.S. Army forces in support of our allies and partners and the stability and security of Europe. Readiness ensures that the Soldiers with 5-4 ADA have the tools and training they need to be lethal, reassures our allies, and deters potential adversaries.