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SPC Brandon Koster and SPC Josef Kerr conducting maintenance operations on a Sentinel Radar. US Army photo by CW2 Michael Penley
Sentinal Rada tactically deployed. US Army photo by LTC David Jenkins
263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command supports “America’s Shield” exercise
Posted 4/24/2013 Updated 4/24/2013
by Sgt. Maj. Karen Boatwright
4/24/2013 - CAMP GRAFTON, N.D. – Twenty-eight members of the 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, (AAMDC), from Anderson, S.C., arrived at Camp Grafton, N.D., this week to coordinate training with the 1-188th Air Defense Artillery Battalion, which is based in Grand Forks, N.D., with detachments in Fargo and Bismarck. The deployment is for the exercise, “America’s Shield,” to prepare for an upcoming year-long mission in Washington, D.C.
The 263rd AAMDC’s role is defending the country against terrorist attacks. The 263rd AAMDC serves as a supporting command to U.S. Army North (USARNORTH) for all Army Air Defense Artillery (ADA) missions as air and cruise missile threats to the Continental United States (CONUS) to include National Capital Region Integrated Air Defense System (NCR-IADS). The 263rd AADMC is currently commanded by Maj.Gen. Gregory Batts.
The 1-188th ADA Battalion will replace the current ADA BN from the Florida Army National Guard.
More than 200 Air Defense Soldiers will work with other Department of Defense agencies as part of the integrated air defense system designed to protect the airspace around the National Capital Region in support of Operation Noble Eagle.
The North Dakota Guardsmen will be led by Lt. Col. Jon Erickson, and Command Sgt. Maj. Wallace Keller, both from Bismarck, N.D. The 1-188th ADA BN will continue training and test their skills for certification at Ft. Bliss, Texas, in the next month.
“Exercise America’s Shield has been a demanding realistic training exercise that has resulted in our Soldiers gaining the utmost confidence in their air defense abilities and their equipment,” said Erickson, Battalion Commander, 1-188th ADA. “The Soldiers have done an outstanding job; they have met all of their pre-deployent training requirements and they are fully prepared for mobilization next month to Ft. Bliss, Texas.”
This marks the 10th deployment for the unit in less than a decade. The 1-188th ADA most recently deployed to Kosovo as part of a NATO peacekeeping mission in 2009-10. Prior to that, portions of the unit deployed six times to Afghanistan and twice to Iraq.
Command Sgt. Maj. Jamie Wilbanks, 263rd AAMDC, stated, “The 1-188th ADA warriors are well on their way to be operationally ready for the number-one mission in the world. The Soldiers and leadership have formed a great foundation to build upon. I am excited to see this great ADA team complete training and become America’s Shield for our country.”
Article source: http://www.1af.acc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123345661