Sea Dragons go ballistic at Balikatan ’16

| May 7, 2016 | 0 Comments
Maj. Robert Deleon, intelligence (G-2) operations officer, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command (left); Capt. Jefferey Cashon, operations (G-3) air defense artillery fire control officer (ADAFCO), 94th AAMDC (middle left); Capt. Jeffrey Ferrer, commander, 1st Air Defense Artillery Battery, Philippine army Artillery Regiment (middle right); and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Garry Rocker, operations (G-3) ADAFCO, 94th AAMDC (right) enjoy a Filipino tradition of a communal meal on banana leaves at the Philippine army Artillery Regiment Headquarters, Fort Magsaysay, Philippines during Exercise Balikatan 2016. The 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command participated in Balikatan for the first time by sending a team of five Soldiers to teach the fundamentals of air defense to the Philippine army at Fort Magsaysay, Philippines from March 31 - April 15.

Sea Dragons and Philippine soldiers enjoy a  tradition of a communal meal on banana leaves at the Philippine army Artillery Regiment Headquarters, Fort Magsaysay, Philippines during Exercise Balikatan 2016. The 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command participated in Balikatan for the first time by sending a team of five Soldiers to teach the fundamentals of air defense to the Philippine army at Fort Magsaysay, Philippines from March 31 – April 15.

Sea Dragons go ballistic at Balikatan’16

Maj. Troy Frey
94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command
Public Affairs

FORT MAGSAYSAY, Philippines — The 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command participated in Balikatan for the first time by sending a team of five Soldiers to teach the fundamentals of air defense to the Philippine army, March 31-April 15.

Even though the 94th AAMDC is participating in Balikatan for the first time, it will not be the first time some of the Soldiers are visiting the Philippines.

Maj. Robert Deleon, intelligence operations officer, is from Legazpi City, Bicol, and his assistant instructor, Staff Sgt. Paul Buo, intelligence analyst, is from Makati.

Filipino soldiers from the 1st Air Defense Artillery Battery, Philippine army Artillery Regiment take notes during classroom training at the Philippine army Artillery Regiment Headquarters, Fort Magsaysay, Philippines during Exercise Balikatan 2016. The 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command participated in Balikatan for the first time by sending a team of five Soldiers to teach the fundamentals of air defense to the Philippine army at Fort Magsaysay, Philippines from March 31 - April 15.

Filipino soldiers from the 1st Air Defense Artillery Battery, Philippine army Artillery Regiment take notes during classroom training.

“It was an honor and privilege to be able to return to my native country and help train and mentor the Philippine army with the knowledge and experience I have gained while serving in the U.S. Army,” Deleon shared.

The mobile training team (MTT) provided instruction in air defense and air intelligence preparation of the battlespace, basic air defense operations and air defense data links.

“This training was critical to providing the Philippine army with a basic level of knowledge and understanding of the vast array of U.S. air defense weapon systems, and how they are employed for layered defense in different scenarios, such as regional and homeland defense,” explained Chief Warrant Officer 3 Heather Sheltrown, communications command and control systems integrator, who is from Cleveland, Ohio. “We worked with them on how to properly select a good defense site while ensuring communications and interoperability are achievable.”

The Philippine army activated the 1st Air Defense Artillery Battery during a ceremony, here, April 4. The newly formed battery provided 25 Filipino soldiers for the air defense training.

“Since this is the first battery within the Philippine army for air defense, we tried to forge a partnership and brotherhood with them to show that, despite the different country’s uniforms we wear, we are all artillerymen and we are all brothers fighting for the common good,” Sheltrown said.

Capt. Jefferey Cashon, operations (G-3) air defense artillery fire control officer (ADAFCO), 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command confers with Capt. Jeffrey Ferrer, commander, 1st Air Defense Artillery Battery, Philippine army Artillery Regiment during a classroom session on the basics of air defense battery management and organization at the Philippine army Artillery Regiment Headquarters, Fort Magsaysay, Philippines during Exercise Balikatan 2016. The 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command participated in Balikatan for the first time by sending a team of five Soldiers to teach the fundamentals of air defense to the Philippine army at Fort Magsaysay, Philippines from March 31 - April 15.

Capt. Jefferey Cashon, operations air defense artillery fire control officer, 94th AAMDC, confers with Capt. Jeffrey Ferrer, commander, 1st Air Defense Artillery Battery, Philippine army Artillery Regiment during a classroom session on the basics of air defense battery management and organization.

The leadership of the new artillery battery was also very excited about this unique opportunity to get training not normally taught in the Philippine army.

“We are very fortunate to have received the air defense training from the best of the 94th AAMDC,” said Philippine army Capt. Jeffrey Ferrer, commander, 1st ADA Battery, Philippine army Artillery Regiment. “My soldiers and I look forward to sustained and continuous training in the months and years to come.”

“This is the first time that we are getting external inputs to our training, and now we feel that they are progressing up as soldiers,” said Philippine army Capt. Samuel Madaging, executive officer, 1st ADA Battery. “The Philippine military has long been an expert in internal security operations like counter insurgency and basic infantry maneuvering. But now with the air defense training, the Philippine army soldiers are learning, and now operating, on a national level.”

Filipino soldiers from the 1st Air Defense Artillery Battery, Philippine army Artillery Regiment display their training certificates for successful completion of the Air Defense Artillery Trainers Training Class provided by the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command Balikatan mobile training team at the Philippine army Artillery Regiment Headquarters, Fort Magsaysay, Philippines April 13, during Exercise Balikatan 2016.

Filipino soldiers from the 1st Air Defense Artillery Battery, Philippine army Artillery Regiment display their training certificates for successful completion of the Air Defense Artillery Trainers Training Class provided by the 94th AAMDC Balikatan MTT at the Philippine army Artillery Regiment Headquarters,  April 13.

The Sea Dragons enjoyed the camaraderie with the students and immersed themselves in the Filipino culture. They participated in physical training, lived in the barracks and shared meals with their Philippine army counterparts.

“My favorite part about living with the Philippine army was the Filipino culture and the authentic Filipino food,” said Buo. “Those things reminded me of my childhood days having fun, enjoying the culture that I grew up with, and, of course, eating multiple meals of Filipino dishes in a day.”

On April 11, an unexpected opportunity became available to the 94th AAMDC MTT when the Philippine presidential security group (PSG) requested the basic air defense operations training. The PSG is equivalent to the U.S. Secret Service and one of its mission requirements is to provide basic air defense for the Malacanang Palace (Philippine White House) building, grounds and facilities.

“The PSG students were very dedicated and motivated in their mission to protect the president of the Philippines,” said Deleon. “They were very attentive to everything we taught them.”

At the end of the exercise, the 94th AAMDC MTT met with Col. Erwin De Asis, commander, Philippine army Artillery Regiment, to provide an out brief. He expressed his gratitude for the training that was provided to his soldiers and presented the 94th Balikatan MTT with a plaque and certificate honoring and thanking the 94th AAMDC.

“Our soldiers were excited to be the first to receive basic air defense training from the experts of the 94th AAMDC,” said De Asis. “We look forward to a sustained and continuous engagement by the 94th AAMDC in the training and development of the Philippine army’s first ADA Battery and succeeding batteries that will come online.

“We will continue to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the 94th AAMDC during the next Balikatan Exercise and in the future.”

Sea Dragons

Sea Dragon MTT

The 94th AAMDC mobile training team consisted of the following:

  • Staff Sgt. Paul Buo, intelligence analyst;
  • Capt. Jefferey Cashon, operations air defense artillery fire control officer;
  • Maj. Robert Deleon intelligence operations;
  • Chief Warrant Officer 4 Garry Rocker, operations; and
  • Chief Warrant Officer 3 Heather Sheltrown, communications command and control systems integrator.

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