FORT SILL, Okla. -- A year ago, just 30 Soldiers and officers were present for duty as 4th Battalion, 3rd Air Defense Artillery was activated as a Patriot missile battalion in the 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade at Fort Sill, Okla. Today, the battalion has got the equipment and the trained people to get their mission done.

It wasn't an easy year.

Most Soldiers may say they got off to a slow start; however, things heated up when Lt. Col. Fruehwald and Command Sergeant Major Kogut took their respective leadership positions. The wheels quickly started moving and real world training began.

It's been a tough year. There are a lot of words in the English vocabulary; the words like "busy", and "late night" were not what Soldiers wanted to hear. However, that is what they endured.
To help the unit work as a team, leaders quickly added a number of field training exercises to the schedule. The latest was the standardized Patriot engagement assessment of readiness, known best by its acronym of SPEAR, under the expert guidance of the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command of Fort Bliss, Texas. The exercise evaluated an intense (but simulated) air battle over a four-day period that also required a week of preparation.

"It was invaluable training without a doubt," said 1st Lt. Michael Savageau of B Battery. His battery received an overall rating of 99 percent with their crews accomplishing first time "GO's."
C Battery utilized the Engagement Control Station and Battery Command Post to focus on air battle management.

"All three BCP crews also received first time 'GO's'," 1st Lt. John Nastus, battery executive officer, said.

"D Battery's BCP crews also passed with first time "GO's". 1st Lt. Daniel Lindberg said, "Working early mornings and very late nights prepared Soldiers for success with this training".

Thanks to a tough training schedule, crews not only exceeded the Army standards, but their leader's expectations. A couple assessed at a higher level than previously evaluated as 1st Lt. Michael Nizolak of A Battery said he experienced.

At the end of a tough week under the watchful eyes of the SPEAR evaluators, they brought key leaders into the briefing tent for their final report of the battalion's exercise. It was a cool morning with just the sound of the generators as backdrop and all else quiet.

The evaluators reported that the battalion commendably qualified all of their air battle crews.
The battalion was combat ready.

The chief evaluator said the lieutenant operators, "accomplished the mission, embodied all the Army qualities and attentiveness to their overall craft".

He compared the battalion's accomplishment to Chuck Cecil, former defensive player in the National Football Leage, who was featured on a cover of Sports Illustrated in 1993 with the question, "Is Chuck Cecil Too Vicious for the NFL Zoepelis said he saw the 4-3rd ADA in that same mold and rated the battalion higher than other unit this year.