AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates --
The 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment provides defense to Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.
Their soldiers are trained to maintain and operate the Patriot launchers used to intercept any airborne threat.
“We’re here to defend the sky above ADAB,” said Specialist Tevin Howe, Bravo/1-43 ADA Patriot launcher enhanced operator and maintainer, and crew member 4 for signals. “We’re air defense so if any kind of threats came over ADAB we would be able to intercept that threat.”
The central hubs for the 1-43 ADA batteries are their Command Posts, which maintain overall control of all activities and information occurring on their site. The Command Posts work closely with the Engagement Control Stations, which are like the "brains" of the system, where operators control everything to fire the missiles.
“We have two main jobs. Our first job is early warning for the ECS and management of the site so we can get in contact with anyone if we need assistance,” said Private 1st Class Matthew Burke, in charge of B/1-43 ADA Command Post records. “We take care of all information ranging from our radar malfunctioning to being low on water on site. Every bit of information about our unit is going to be sent to us and we have to manage it.”
“We have to know who is on site at all times,” Specialist Casey Bearden, B/1-43 ADA enhanced early warning systems operator. “Sometimes we have a lot of Air Force personnel who come on site and we have to know where everything is on site. We have to know where to direct personnel for bunkers and decontamination areas in case of a chemical threat, where everyone needs to be positioned at so we can properly assess everything. If anyone has any questions then the BCP should have the answer for them.”
With various equipment on site, maintainers are ready at a moment’s notice to perform any maintenance or repair needed.
“I maintain all the equipment so it stays up and ready for the mission,” said Specialist Tyler Mims, B/1-43 ADA systems maintainer for Patriot missiles. “If something goes down, I have to do my best to get it up in a meaningful time where we can still complete our mission.”
“We have the ability to take care of all the launching stations to where they can do the job where they are needed to,” said Howe.
By conducting various training scenarios, they are prepared to defend the base against any threat.
“We are constantly training every day,” said Bearden. “In the event something happens on site, we can go back to our battle drills, and figure out the best course of action to complete the mission. We make sure everything is reported up properly so our commanders are informed and can report it up to the battalion, brigade or Army Air Missile Defense Command levels.”