News: 2-44 ADA awards combat action badge
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan - Soldiers of Alpha Battery, 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment were awarded the combat action badge during ceremonies held here June 23 and July 8.
The 2-44 ADA is currently deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. They perform the counter, rocket, artillery and mortar mission protecting coalition forces and equipment from enemy indirect fire attacks. The 2-44 ADA utilizes the Land-Based Phalanx Weapon System (LPWS), 20mm multibarreled cannon, to counter enemy indirect fire attacks directed at forward operating bases. This assignment positions 2-44 ADA Soldiers on the front lines when forward operating bases receive enemy indirect fire.
To be awarded the combat action badge Soldiers must have been engaged by the enemy. The 2-44 ADA Soldiers routinely meet this criterion during their day-to-day duties.
The following eight Soldiers received combat action badges: Sgt. Aaron Bench, Spc. Joshua Domogala, Spc. Curtis Riley, Pfc. Jeffery Miller, Pfc. John Armijo, Pfc. Vaughan Jeffs, Spc. Tyrique Thomas and Spc. Ryan Hoover. These hardworking and dedicated Soldiers knowingly place themselves in dangerous situations in order to perform their duties.
Spc. Curtis Riley, a wheeled vehicle mechanic, 2nd Platoon, stated, “It’s unfortunate that the indirect fire came inside the base, but I thank God for allowing me to do my job. As a Soldier in A Battery, 2-44 ADA, all of us have been properly trained for combat, and to always expect the unexpected. My family is very proud of me for being awarded the combat action badge; it was an award I was not expecting to receive on this deployment.”
Pfc. Jeffery Miller, a radar mechanic, also in 2nd Platoon, echoed the above sentiment, “I was very surprised to hear I was receiving the combat action badge. I felt like I was just doing my job as Land-based Phalanx Weapons team leader. I am honored to be awarded the combat action badge, and will wear it with pride.”
Prior to assuming the mission in Afghanistan, Capt. Richard Lewis, battery commander, had the daunting tasks of transforming his battery from an avenger battery to an LPWS intercept battery. This task was performed under a tight and accelerated schedule in order to get the unit deployed and in the fight. Alpha Battery has grown exponentially since last October, when the unit was first notified of their upcoming deployment and he couldn’t be more proud of the battery’s accomplishments.
“Today marks a great occasion for Alpha Battery and 2-44 ADA” stated Capt. Lewis. “We have awarded eight of our Assassins with the combat action badge, a distinction that emphasizes the combat capacity that Alpha Battery currently fulfills, and the willingness of the Soldiers of our unit to step into harm's way to provide air defense on forward operating bases for US and coalition forces. The importance of this award presentation cannot be overstated as Alpha Battery is proud to recognize these Soldiers who are proving daily the necessity of Air Defense presence in an asymmetric environment.”
Although short, both ceremonies are historic moments for both Alpha Battery and the Battalion. It was a chance to highlight contributions by outstanding Soldiers who work challenging hours in a difficult environment.
Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, International Security Assistance Force Joint commander, who visited 2-44 ADA July 8, 2014, took part in a one of the CABs ceremonies. It was an opportunity for some of the Soldiers to receive their CABs from a three-star general, a memory that will last a lifetime.
“Today these deserving troops from Alpha Battery made history,” 1st Sgt. Robert Walker stated. “Very few air defenders get the opportunity to meet the requirements to receive a combat action badge; these troops consistently display remarkable courage and dedication while protecting thousands of U.S. and coalition forces on Bagram Air Field. The Soldiers of ‘Assassin’ Battery have no fear and are always steadfast in the execution of their duty.”