Top Gun competition: 2-43 ADA’s E Battery conducts successful week of training
2nd Lt. Joseph Van Valkenburg,
2nd Bn., 43rd ADA, 11th ADA Bde.:
MCGREGOR RANGE, N.M. – Soldiers of E Battery, 2nd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, completed their annual Top Gun competition here Aug. 20 through 23.
“They prepared for the competition for two months, and their hard work paid off with a successful week of training,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jon Brooks, a master gunner with E Btry.
Eleven Avenger crews certified Table VIII, and five Avenger crews completed Table X. The “Sentinel” Platoon had two crews achieve Table VIII certifications during the exercise.
The competition took place over an eight-week period, culminating with the live-fire event that took place Aug. 22 and 23 at McGregor Range. Competitors were tested in three main categories. The first one included the use of computer-simulated sources such as the Stinger Proficiency Trainer and Avenger Table Top Trainer to gain proficiency for future live-fire events. The physical portion of the competition was the second category, which tested the Soldiers in the Army physical fitness test, a five-mile road march and a weapons qualification. The third category and the last portion of the competition was knowledge-based. This part included a general knowledge exam and a Visual Aircraft Recognition Exam.
McGregor Range provided the Soldiers with the perfect environment for their live-fire qualification. Soldiers were able to expend 12,000 rounds of ammunition using the M3P .50-caliber machine gun and engage targets with five Stinger missiles from both stationary and “shoot-on-the-move” positions.
“Leadership pushing our abilities and peer rivalry triggered maximum effort and participation from all crews in the competition,” said Spc. Manny Gose, an E Btry. crew gunner.
Winning Top Gun Avenger crews (all with E Btry., 2nd Bn., 43rd ADA):
• Sgt. Brandon Emanuel and Spc. Julian Gonzalez
• Spc. Corey Smith and Spc. Manny Gose
• Sgt. Patrick Shackley and Spc. Andre Morell
• Sgt. Shane Barney and Spc. Michael Norton
• Spc. Raymond Henry and Spc. Rivir Alcorn
The Sentinel Platoon also set up a tactical operations center with both Air and Missile Defense Work Stations and Forward Area Air Defense Stations running constantly. The Soldiers conducted continuous training with the equipment and created a visual air picture with air corridors in the TOC to ensure airspace safety.
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