Joint, integrated missile defense helps Talon troops go ballistic

| April 1, 2016 | 0 Comments
Trainers Jim Davis, Ryan Evans, and Phil Beaudoin (left to right) from the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense stand with Task Force Talon Soldiers in front of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System during their visit to Task Force Talon at Andersen Air Base, Guan on March 16, 2016. The three trainers visited Guam from March 14-16 to provide a comprehensive orientation session on ballistic missile defense for the Soldiers of Task Force Talon and senior leaders within the Joint Region Marianas. (U.S. Army photo courtesy of Sgt. 1st Class Greg Crocker, Battery B, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, Task Force Talon, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command)

Trainers Jim Davis, Ryan Evans and Phil “Jethro” Beaudoin (left to right) from the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense stand with Task Force Talon Soldiers in front of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System during their visit to Task Force Talon at Andersen Air Base, Guan on March 16, 2016. The three trainers visited Guam from March 14-16 to provide a comprehensive orientation session on ballistic missile defense for the Soldiers of Task Force Talon and senior leaders within the Joint Region Marianas. (U.S. Army photo courtesy of Sgt. 1st Class Greg Crocker, Battery B, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, Task Force Talon, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command)

 

Maj. Joel Seppala, Task Force Talon,
94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command

ANDERSEN AFB, Guam – “Who am I? Why am I here?”

Philosophers and laymen alike have pondered these ancient, cosmic questions through the ages. Thanks to their attendance at a recent ballistic missile defense orientation, the Soldiers of Task Force Talon (TFT) are one step closer to knowing what the answer means for themselves, at least as it pertains to their roles as defenders, of one sort or another, on Guam.

Three trainers from the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense (JFCC IMD) visited Guam from March 14-16 to provide a comprehensive orientation session for the Soldiers on the topic of ballistic missile defense. The full-day orientation covered topics ranging from current ballistic missile threats to U.S. organizational and material responses to the threats. TFT, headquartered here, is home to the only forward-deployed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ballistic missile defense weapon system, responsible for defending Guam from ballistic missile attacks.

The JFCC IMD’s Joint Ballistic Missile Defense Training and Education Center (JBTEC) provides worldwide joint training for ballistic missile defense (BMD), said Phil “Jethro” Beaudoin, lead trainer, during the visit describing his organization’s training role.

“JBTEC integrates with service and combatant command training organizations to ensure the training is comprehensive, consistent and accurate,” Beaudoin said.

The expert JBTEC team strives to keep up with BMD developments in what is a dynamic, constantly changing domain.

“The team, with experience from every service and combatant command, offers training at forward locations, at JFCC IMD in Colorado Springs and online via distance learning,” Beaudoin said.

The audience for the BMD orientation session was a mix of THAAD operators, who have a primary mission of neutralizing ballistic missile threats to Guam, and security forces Soldiers assigned to defend the THAAD system against ground attack.

“(Gaining a) broader understanding of ballistic missile defense enhances the THAAD Soldier’s ability to perform their job as a missile defender,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jason Robillard, chief training officer, Battery B, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment. “It gives them a better understanding of what else is involved in the air defense battle and explains why we use a lot of the procedures that we do.”

Air defenders were not the only ones to glean new information about THAAD and the greater BMD system. Soldiers from the security force also increased their awareness with respect to the role they played in the overall system.

“The briefing provided the Soldiers with an overall picture of what the defense capability posture is in the region,” Sgt. 1st Class David Underwood, a platoon sergeant for Company D, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regt. , said. “It also informed the Soldiers on what capabilities the air defense has in protecting North America.”

The JFCC IMD visit had an immediate impact on Soldiers by putting into perspective the importance of the Task Force Talon mission on Guam.

“For many security forces Soldiers, it was an eye opener,” said Underwood. “Most of the Soldiers didn’t understand the threat to justify the means. I have personally seen an impact on the way the Soldiers conduct themselves on the site after the briefing. Soldiers seem to be taking an added sense of purpose in their attitude and not just pulling guard.”

The JFCC IMD trainers also hosted an executive seminar to discuss BMDS with senior military leaders from Joint Region Marianas.

“Guam’s dual nature as a homeland United States territory combined with the distance away from the continental United States makes missile defense of this region (a unique challenge),” Beaudoin noted. “With that in mind, we focused on regional capabilities tempered by the mindset of homeland defense.”

The emphasis for the executive seminar was on how BMDS incorporates THAAD on Guam and what effect regional BMD actions could have on the region.

“Having the JFCC IMD experts here for a few days was crucial in expanding the knowledge of key personnel on island regarding the systems and capabilities available throughout the Department of Defense to provide BMD,” said Lt. Col. Jefferey Slown, commander, Task Force Talon. “The team that visited was able to leverage seminar attendees’ knowledge of the THAAD on Guam and expound on the capabilities and the limitations of the system. The presenters also provided information in reference to what future systems could potentially be relevant to Guam.”

The trainers were also thankful for the opportunity.

When asked about the JFCC IMD impressions of Task Force Talon, Beaudoin said.

“Task Force Talon has a vital mission for homeland defense. We were very impressed by the professionalism and commitment of those who are serving in defense of Guam,” he said.

 

 

 

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