The 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment maintains the Patriot missile systems deployed to protect assets on Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.
“[At home station] we do our gunnery certifications and then we do pre-deployment exercises and that culminates with us deploying,” said 1st Lt. Rafael Ramos-Michael, Bravo Battery, 1-43 ADA fire control platoon leader. “Here our primary role is ballistic missile defense.”
Certified crews work around the clock making sure everything is good on site to ensure there is no break in defense of the base and its assets. Ramos-Michael said the crews handle maintenance of the equipment, perform system checks and run battle simulations daily, while also handling logistics, force protection and warrior battle tasks.
“I manage 20 soldiers and their main purpose is to mobilize, take care of and posture all the launchers on this site to be able to fire missiles at any given time,” said Sgt. 1st Class Adam Belvin, Bravo Battery, 1-43 ADA launcher platoon sergeant.
“Because we are postured here and present here, it’s deterring enemy activity from trying to do anything to this area. Just our presence is a deterrent,” said Belvin.
Be that as it may, the 1-43 ADA remains vigilant and continues to train.
“Usually they try to get in at least two or three different air battle simulations every day, just to keep our crews fresh,” said Ramos-Michael.
“The drills we run out here, we have to have the [additional] capability of mobilizing this launcher quickly, and then setting it up quickly,” said Belvin.
The crews here average well below the required time allotment, allowing base personnel to rest easy.
Belvin said, “the prominent reason we are here is to protect the flightline and the air base and all the Airmen and Soldiers stationed here.”