By Staff Sgt. Henry W. Marris III
108th ADA Brigade Public Affairs, Third Army Public Affairs
SOUTHWEST ASIA – A transfer of authority ceremony between the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and the 108th Air Defense Artillery was held June 22 in Southwest Asia.
Col. Jimmy Jenkins, 69th ADA commander, passed authority to Col. Christopher Spillman, 108th ADA Commander.
“The knowledge and skills of the great professionals of the brigade and their dedication to executing this mission to the highest standard will make this deployment successful,” said Spillman.
The Fort Bragg, N.C., based 108th ADA has been preparing for months to assume command and control of air and missile defense forces throughout the Central Command area of responsibility.
The soldiers of the 108th ADA will be deployed to Southwest Asia for one year in support of U.S. Central Command.
For a number of soldiers in the 108th ADA, this will be their first time deploying in support of combat operations and a learning experience for many.
Pfc. Mark A. Giauque, a native of Camarillo, Calif., and a soldier in the brigade operations section, says he relied heavily on training exercises to help prepare for the mission.
“I tried to learn as much as I could during mission readiness exercises,” said Giauque. “Whether that meant coming in an hour before shift or staying a hour after, I just tried to learn as much as I could from the more experienced [ones].”
Since arriving in the Southwest Asia theater of operations, the members of the incoming 108th ADA have been working side by side with 69th ADA. Often called ‘right-seat, left-seat rides’ each unit’s members accompany their outgoing counterpart for a short period of time to ensure the smoothest possible transition between the units. One benefit to the right-seat, left-seat rides is learning how the previous unit conducted operations.
“They [69th ADA] gave us examples of all the memorandums we needed to complete [during this deployment]; so we could be set up for success,” said Spc. Douglas Cook, a native of El Dorado, Ark., and member of the 108th ADA communications section.
Cook said he hopes to gain a better perspective of his job and how it affects the mission during deployment. The lessons learned will be passed on when the 108th ADA rotation ends next year.
The 108th ADA is prepared and ready to do their part in defending the U.S. and partner nations.
“It is a tremendous honor and a professional high point in my career to lead this brigade and our deployed battalions in the execution of a vital mission in support of our national interests,” said Spillman.
The 69th ADA returns to Fort Hood, Texas after its year-long deployment.