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    Saber Guardian participating nations display air defense capability

    Saber Guardian participating nations display air defense capability

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Adrian Borunda | Soldiers with C Battery, 2nd battalion, 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command,...... read more read more

    CAPU MIDIA, Romania (July 19, 2017) — Soldiers participating in Saber Guardian 17 (SG17) fired anti-aircraft missiles from multiple systems over the eastern shore of Romania to display the allied and partner nations’ ability to defend against air attacks.

    In a coordinated barrage, .50 caliber machine gun rounds and Stinger and MIM-23 Hawk missiles knocked target drones out of the sky one by one, leaving behind smoldering debris and smoke trails as proof of a job well done.

    “Saber Guardian allows us the opportunity to practice emplacing [our weapons], going through drills and then conducting a live fire that we can’t do at at home,” said 1st Lt. Tawanna Thomas, executive officer of Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, South Carolina Army National Guard.

    Battery C Soldiers drove their Humvees — mounted with a mobile, short-range anti-aircraft system, AN/TWQ-1 Avenger,— to fire next to their Romanian counterparts, who were firing their Hawk missiles. This side-by-side layout and walk-through of each other’s equipment, gave the partner nations a unique opportunity to learn from one another.

    “It’s been very interesting hearing from our partner nations about the details of their missions and learning how similar they are to ours,” Thomas said. “We’ve seen some of the tactics they use, and they would be interesting to try [back home].”

    For these guardsmen, SG17 has provided a challenging training environment that Thomas said is something that will stand out to her Soldiers when they reflect on their annual trainings. She added that they have gained more in this experience than they ever would conducting an annual training in their home state, including 24 hour operations, tracking actual targets, and participating in a live fire.

    “The experience was awesome for them,” Thomas said.

    Lessons learned ranged from developing international relationships to improving individual crew level tactics. For some of the Avenger crews, this was their first time firing live rounds in a training exercise.

    “Private Fricks is new to my crew, and we’ve been working together for only this exercise, so every day is a new mountain climbed,” said Sgt. Nathaniel Stanley, air and missile defense crewmember, Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, South Carolina Army National Guard. “He’s learned the system and can brief it just like a veteran.”
    Although Stanley and his crew have had to get fully acquainted with their new environment here in Romania, they, nevertheless, adapted and worked hard tp be successful..

    “It’s an active job; it’s all action,” Stanley said. “When you’re under pressure, setting the system up is all bam, bam, bam. This training builds muscle memory, understanding of the system, and builds trust between the gunner and the team leader.”

    The air and missile defense crews highlighted their skill and perseverance with multiple targets destroyed and a renewed confidence in their skill.

    “This job gets me excited,” he said. “I like to work. I like to move fast and get the job done, knowing what I’m doing and knowing that it's done right, ready to defend the important assets we have.”



    Date Taken: 07.19.2017
    Date Posted: 07.21.2017 06:58
    Story ID: 242001
    Location: CAPU MIDIA, RO

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