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    Astral Knight 19 comes to a close

    Astral Knight 19 comes to a close

    Photo By Sgt. Erica Earl | Soldiers with the 5th Battalion 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment stand ready to...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Erica Earl 

    5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment   

    KOPER, Slovenia—Soldiers from the 5th Battalion 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment from Baumholder, Germany, and the 174th ADA Brigade from the Ohio National Guard wrapped up exercise Astral Knight 19 near Koper and Divaca, Slovenia June 6, 2019.
    Astral Knight 19 is a multinational combined exercise designed to test integrated air and missile defense capabilities. The exercise involves a combination of flight operations and computer-assisted scenarios.
    In the exercise, Soldiers worked alongside the Slovenian Armed Forces simulating the protection of the Port of Koper. They ran 24-hour operations, setting up radar to scan for potential threats and poised the Patriot Missile Defense Systems as a protective barrier. Teams in Divaca helped provide support for that mission and ran computer scenarios. The 220th Military Police Company of the Colorado National Guard provided convoy and site security.
    Capt. Annie Hershey, the Alpha Battery commander for the 5-7 ADA, said the exercise shows mission readiness and the capability of the regiment to move from its base in Germany to another country swiftly and protect and support NATO allies.
    “It shows the freedom of maneuver for us because we are able to put a patriot battery anywhere in Europe within a few days,” Hershey said. “We are also allowing for the freedom of maneuver for any follow-on forces coming through this port to conduct their missions.”
    Lt. Frederick Breslow, Alpha Battery platoon leader for the 5-7 ADA, said the exercise is a demonstration of the logistics behind efficiently moving and setting up a site to support allies.
    “There is no better training than when we get to do combined and joint ops with our NATO allies,” Breslow said. “It shows that our Soldiers are ready and can operate any time of year on any terrain.”
    The Soldiers ran drills on the radar equipment and the Patriot Missile Defense Systems to stay mission ready. These tasks included missile movement and reload training, in which Soldiers in five-man teams have to move canisters that weigh over 4,000 pounds in under 16 minutes. They also performed drills clearing the radar and ensuring it is safe to emit.
    In addition to quick-paced exercises, Astral Knight 19 welcomed distinguished visitors, including mayor of Ankaran, Slovenia Gregor Strmcnik and Slovenian State Secretary at the Ministry of Defense, Klemen Groselj.
    Lt. Col. James McCandless, deputy brigade commander for the 174th ADA, said bringing capabilities together and working with a common operating picture is key for strengthening relationships with our allies.
    “What we really hope to get out of the exercise is an opportunity to work together with one purpose and understand each other’s capabilities,” McCandless said.
    Many of the Soldiers said working alongside Slovenian allies was the highlight of Astral Knight 19.
    Private Justin Clayton, a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense Soldier with the 5-7 ADA, said he enjoyed meeting the Slovenian forces and sharing the opportunity to train together.
    “The Slovenians were welcoming and helpful,” Clayton said. “I got to see how they operate as a force. Working with them demonstrates that we can take a group of Soldiers and combine them with Soldiers in another country and work together and defend their assets.”
    Clayton said he hopes he can come back to visit Slovenia one day.
    On the last day of the exercise, the ADAs set up some of the equipment in Divaca to be displayed in a community engagement day event scheduled for June 8, 2019. The event is designed to showcase equipment such as the Patriot Missile Defense System to the public.
    Hershey said that interoperability has been what helped the mission run smoothly.
    “I think it’s important to show the strength of our military and the strength of the support of our allies and partners,” Hershey said.



    Date Taken: 06.06.2019
    Date Posted: 06.06.2019 17:14
    Story ID: 325851
    Location: KOPER, SI
    Hometown: BAUMHOLDER, RP, DE
    Hometown: COLUMBUS, OH, US
    Hometown: DENVER, CO, US

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