KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --
U.S. Army Alpha Battery, 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment conducted a week-long Battalion Field Training Exercise at Kunsan Air Base on July 23. Members of A/2-1 trained on operation, manning, sustainment, and employment of the Patriot Weapons system.
Like any weapon system, once fired, the Patriot missile system must be reloaded. During the FTX, members trained to accomplish this as efficiently as possible as well as perfecting proper 24-hour manning and changeover for crew operations and conducting Operational Readiness Evaluations.
The end goal is to increase readiness for the unit, give real world experience to new Soldiers, and improve ability to defend the base 24/7.
This kind of readiness takes practice, coordination and the combined forces of multiple defenders, and nobody understands this better than the A/2-1.
“Our mission here is to defend Kunsan Air Base against tactical ballistic missiles with our Patriot system,” said Specialist Justine Maurer A/2-1 ADA patriot missile operator and maintainer. “If a missile were to come toward the base, we would be the first to know and the first to react.”
Tactical ballistic missiles can reach speeds above the speed of sound, but Capt David Endter, A/2-1 Battery commander, is certain of his team’s abilities to defend the base.
“I’m extremely confident in my Soldiers; they’ve never been more motivated,” said Endter. “They are always working, always wanting to train even in the heat. They’re always here ready to go and always wanting to do more training to make themselves better. The FTX is a way for us to be able to rehearse, practice and train to make sure we are able to do that mission.”
I'm extremely confident in my Soldiers; they've never been more motivated -Capt Endter
The FTX is designed to create a realistic training scenario. Maurer found the reloading portion to be extremely beneficial.
“When I first joined the Army, no one here was particularly good at reload, but practice makes perfect,” said Maurer. “The better and faster you can get a launcher reloaded, the faster you can take the fight back to the air.”
The exercise is also critical to developing the cohesiveness and cooperation between Alpha Battery and the 8th Fighter Wing.
“We have always appreciated the support from the 8th Fighter Wing,” said Endter. “It’s a completely symbiotic relationship. The Air Force relies on us so that they are able to get their mission accomplished, so we work closely and hand-in-hand with a really strong relationship.”