Battalion concludes MRE, is ready to deploy
Staff Sgt. Norman Llamas,
11th ADA Bde. Public Affairs:
“Gas, gas, gas” was the message echoed throughout the “Cobra Strike” footprint as the battalion’s mission readiness exercise began Sept. 17 at Tobin Wells Training Area.
Simulating a chemical attack was just one of the many exercises the Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery, went through while conducting their pre-deployment MRE.
In the beginning, there seemed to be no sense of urgency in the Soldiers’ actions. Despite being unsure of the proper procedures for searching third-country nationals coming onto their site, failing to provide constant escorts for those TCNs while they were on the site(s), and a couple of other missed tasks, the “Cobra Strike” Soldiers rallied and became better at all their tasks. Before long, they were moving swiftly.
Each one of the batteries took advantage of their down time and trained on the various tasks they received low grades on from the observer controllers. By the time “ENDEX” was called, they were fully trained and ready to take on their upcoming deployment.
“Every Soldier in the battalion worked extremely hard during each mission,” said Lt. Col. David E. Shank, battalion commander. “The battalion as a whole met the objectives identified prior to the MRE.
“Numerous lessons were learned: technical, tactical and personal,” Shank continued. “We’re all a family in the ‘Cobra Strike’ battalion, and we got better every day.
“The battalion is combat-ready, operationally ready to deploy and ready to provide air and missile defense capabilities as necessary,” Shank added. “We couldn’t have conducted this MRE without the assistance of the observer controller/trainers from the 11th ADA Brigade, the brigade staff and personnel with 2nd Bn., 43rd ADA Battalion.
“Additionally, 86th Expeditionary Signal Battalion Soldiers provided us with communication packages which enabled us to communicate with the Central Command area of responsibility,” said Shank.
“The MRE was a great culminating event which brought together everything the battalion has been working on since March,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Mathew Gruidl, battalion command sergeant major. “Our Soldiers exceeded the standard and continued to build the team that they have been working to build all throughout.
“In my opinion, the greatest achievement for the battalion was the amount of young and junior leaders that stepped up in the face of adversity and showed dedication to the profession of arms,” Gruidl added. “The battalion is fully prepared to execute its mission.”
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