On January 15th, 1991 soldiers from the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade changed modern day warfare forever when they successfully intercepted an Al Hussein Missile launched from Iraq headed towards Dhahran, Saudi Arabia with a Patriot Missile Defense Battery. This heroic act was played out multiple times in Dhahran, Riyadh and Tel Aviv. This validation of “active missile defense” by United States Soldiers under the harshest combat conditions laid the groundwork for what we have today; multiple layered, joint service-missile defense that protects tactical, operational and strategic assets from hostile missile attacks.
The award ceremony held in Alexandria, Virginia recognized and honored members of our military who command fully operational and deployed missile defense systems. The award is given to a United States Armed Forces service member from each branch that currently deploys a U.S. missile defense system. The Defenders of the Year are selected by their peers and commanding officers from the United States Army, United States Navy, United States Air Force and the National Guard. These select individuals represent the best in leadership and personal effort, demonstrating their commitment to excellence and their critical role in missile defense. They are an inspiration to their subordinates, peers and superiors.