Fort Sill Soldiers taste deployed life close to home at Altus AFB
By Airman 1st Class Kenneth W. Norman, 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 24, 2011
ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Soldiers from the 4th Battalion 3rd Air Defense Artillery, Fort Sill, Okla., recently concluded their 10-day Patriot missile culmination training event here Oct. 21.
"The training was awesome," said Capt. Bradley Hayes, 4-3 ADA BN Alpha Battery commander. "We came to Altus and we replicated what we would do in a theater of operation if we were deployed to an air base. The aircraft taking off night and day, being co-located next to Air Force personnel and working with Air Force personnel added to the realism. It was a really successful training event and was great for the soldiers who had never experienced this type of environment. I worked with our battalion and we trained on scenarios that could occur in theater such as Red Cross messages, system injections, maintenance and working with host countries."
The 4-3 ADA BN brought about 250 soldiers to Altus AFB completing a training event that tested communications between multiple battery sites and evaluated how the unit would handle scenarios that could be encountered in a deployed environment.
"The overall mission was to validate our training program and our overall readiness. We built this unit from receiving the [Patriot missile] equipment, to a year later being a unit that is now formed and fully trained. This event was a validation of our training program," Hayes said. "Our battalion was split up into two separate elements, which represented us being in two locations. It was a true test of splitting a battalion headquarters to operate in dual functions, half supporting two batteries here and the other half supporting another two batteries back at Fort Sill."
The soldiers loaded all of their equipment into vehicles at Fort Sill and convoyed to Altus AFB, which improved the realism of the training.
"This was a great opportunity for us to get off of the Fort Sill installation," said Capt. Travis Tripp, 4-3 ADA BN Bravo Battery commander. "We packed up the entire battery and mobilized. We actually drove here, which is almost 100 kilometers. This training allowed us to simulate a real deployment, it's not like you could go back and get something that you forgot."
Overall the training was a success and the men and women of Altus contributed to that success.
"Altus has been phenomenal," Tripp said. "They provided us a great plot of land, use of the gym, shower facilities, meals for our breakfast and dinners and we also had access to the six-mile track whenever we wanted. Some of our soldiers were allowed to go tour some of the aircraft, which was a great experience for them. It has been a very welcoming experience coming to Altus and I hope we get to do it again."