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    Florida’s Air Defense returns to safeguard National Capital Region

    Florida’s Air Defense returns to safeguard National Capital Region

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Carmen Fleischmann | A staff sergeant with the 3-265th Air Defense Artillery Battalion hugs his family...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Carmen Fleischmann 

    Florida National Guard Public Affairs Office

    SARASOTA, Fla. (June 21, 2016) -- Family and friends gathered around a formation of Soldiers as they prepared to bid farewell to their deploying loved ones during an official deployment ceremony hosted by the Governor and the Adjutant General of Florida.

    Approximately 200 members of the Florida National Guard’s 3rd of the 265th Air Defense Artillery Battalion departed for a year-long mission providing ground-based air defense to the National Capital Region (NCR).

    Army Col. Grant Slayden, commander of the 164th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, says this is a crucial task for this unit, one that his brigade has performed expertly several times.

    “This is a very important mission that reports through the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to provide ground-based air defense for Washington D.C. and the National Capital Region,” said Slayden. “It’s an absolutely essential mission because their job is to make sure that a terrible tragedy like 9-11 never occurs again. “

    The brigade headquarters has deployed in defense of the NCR 13 times and this is the fourth deployment for the 3-265th. For this mission, the Soldiers and their leadership were hand-picked to ensure the same positive results from the 164th.

    “Florida definitely knows what they’re doing and they’ll execute well as they always have in the past,” said Slayden. “They’ve gotten the best training, they have some of the best equipment. Overall, they have every advantage and we can count on them.”

    The 3-265th is one of only five battalions throughout the country that cycle through the NCR mission. To effectively safeguard the nation requires 24-hour-a-day operations, requiring every Soldier assigned to be at peak performance. During the ceremony, Governor Rick Scott joined Maj. Gen. Michael A. Calhoun, The Adjutant General of Florida in commending Florida Guardsmen for playing a key role in keeping citizens and families safe.

    “These Soldiers standing before you today literally stand guard to protect the leadership of the free world,” said Calhoun. “Once again, Florida Army Guardsmen are on point and currently demonstrating to our nation and our partners in Africa, Southwest Asia and Central America that we are committed to preserving freedom.”

    Leading the Soldiers of the “Lightning Battalion” throughout their critical endeavor is Lt. Col. Patrick Thompson, commander of the 3-265th. Although he has only been in command for six months he is positive that his unit is more than ready to accept the responsibilities that come with the NCR mission.

    “Imagine what an attack on Washington D.C. would do to our economy, security, financial stability and the sheer freedoms that we enjoy on a daily basis,” said Thompson. “As long as the Lightning Battalion is on guard in the Nation’s capital, a 9-11 attack will not occur.”




    Date Taken: 06.21.2016
    Date Posted: 06.21.2016 15:59
    Story ID: 201965
    Location: SARASOTA, FL, US 
    Hometown: SARASOTA, FL, US
    Hometown: ST. AUGUSTINE, FL, US
    Hometown: TALLAHASSEE, FL, US

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