By Capt. Jeremy Tennent, 6-52nd Air Defense Artillery Battalion, 35th ADA Public AffairsAugust 30, 2011
SUWON AIR BASE, South Korea - Brig. Gen. James Dickinson arrived in Suwon Aug. 23 to visit the 6th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery.
The forward deployed Patriot unit welcomed Dickinson, who ia the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Tedd J. Pritchard.
During his tour of the "Iron Horse" footprint at Suwon Air Base, Dickinson made it a point to discuss both the challenges facing the battalion and the future plans for the force.
"You have a great job," said Dickinson. "Your training is real and in support of 'fight tonight.'"
The command team, based in Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, praised the battalion for going 24 months without a sexual assault.
"That is a positive reflection on the unit and on its leadership," said Dickinson.
Pritchard added his support by saying, "It takes creative, dynamic leaders to succeed. The risk is real and your readiness is taken seriously on this peninsula."
The command sergeant major had doubled down his emphasis on dynamic leadership by hosting a NCO development program the day prior to the official visit.
After a mission brief, Dickinson and Pritchard moved to a training area to observe Alpha Battery conducting certification training.
Following the training visit, the battalion hosted a lunch at the dining facility, where the commanders and first sergeants had the opportunity to voice concerns.
During the discussion, Dickinson spoke at length about the future of air and missile defense on the Korean Peninsula.
"For the first time, during this past Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise, we were able to simulate a THAAD battery," said Dickinson.
THAAD is the acronym for Terminal High Altitude Air Defense, a new system designed to expand the ground based ballistic missile shield over a larger area while working in tandem with existing Patriot batteries.
In the future on the Korean Peninsula, Dickinson forsees greater coordination between the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and its sister battalion on Okinawa. "It's all one defensive chain, from north to south," Dickinson said.
The visit concluded with a gift from the battalion to the commander and to the command sergeant major, welcoming them into command.