94th AAMDC plays critical role in missile test

| November 6, 2012 | 0 Comments
KWAJALEIN ATOLL, Republic of the Marshall Islands — A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, interceptor is launched from Meck Island, here, on its way to an intercept of a ballistic missile target during the Missile Defense Agency's historic flight test, Oct. 24 (Oct. 25 on Kwajalein). (Photo by Andrew Hall)

KWAJALEIN ATOLL, Republic of the Marshall Islands — A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, interceptor is launched from Meck Island, here, on its way to an intercept of a ballistic missile target during the Missile Defense Agency’s historic flight test, Oct. 24 (Oct. 25 on Kwajalein). (Photo by Andrew Hall)

Sgt. 1st Class Karry L. James
94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command Public Affairs

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM — It was a familiar scene: Soldiers at the ready with their weapons, palms sweaty, hoping for a chance to prove themselves worthy of being called a warrior.

However, this scene was no ordinary battlefield; the Soldiers held no rifle, but with the click of a mouse, they released a momentous weapon that is much more powerful.

“The 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command was involved at all levels of the historic live-fire test that took place at several locations throughout the Pacific,” said Capt. Brendan McIntyre, air defense artillery fire control officer assigned to the 94th AAMDC cell in the Air Operations Center.

Flight Test Integrated-01, a joint-service operation conducted by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency Oct. 24, was the most complex test of its kind yet attempted.

The 94th AAMDC’s role was to provide command and control oversight for the maneuver and to operate the equipment out at the U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll’s Reagan Test Site, as well as man controls here in Hawaii, said McIntyre.

Soldiers sat before their computer screens and awaited orders to launch a Patriot Advanced Capability, or PAC-3, interceptor, to ensure that ballistic defenses are capable under realistic operational conditions, explained McIntyre. The test attempted to engage five targets simultaneously.

During the exercise, 94th AAMDC detected, tracked and successfully intercepted a short-range ballistic missile fired from the Reagan test site, while counterparts in the 32nd AAMDC fired the Terminal High Altitude Defense system from Meck Island to intercept an Extended Long Range Air Launch Target dropped by a Hickam-based Air Force C-17 north of Wake Island.

The short–range missile was intercepted by a PAC-3 operated by 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment, stationed at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa.

Soldiers from the 94th AAMDC and the 1st Bn., 1st ADA Regt., deployed to the Reagan test site in mid-August to prepare for the mission.

Sailors aboard the USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, deployed to counter ballistic missiles, took out a low-flying cruise missile, and Airmen from the 613th Air and Space Operations Center tracked targets with a portable ballistic missile defense radar system.

“This test provided a new motivation, purpose and direction for the Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen, because during your career, no matter how short or long, you spend the whole time training for these type of events,” said Staff Sgt. Regina Leroy, air defense artillery fire control assistant.

The 94th AAMDC Sea Dragons’ motto is “First Line of Defense.” They stand combat-ready with an expeditionary mindset to execute contingency operations at any time. Being the Army’s operational leader for theater air missile defense, the Sea Dragons played a critical role in FTI-01.

“To see and be a part of history really motivates you to know that what you are doing,” said Leroy. “It matters.”

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