Dear Member and Friends
In Killeen, Texas lays Fort Hood, home of the First Cavalry Division, the 69th Air Defense Artillery (ADA) and the Headquarters of the III Corps of the United States Army. The Third Corps is the “Hammer”, as it brings the First Armor Division “Old Ironsides”, the First Calvary Division with Aviation and Armor, and the 4th Infantry Division all together in the most powerful lethal fighting force to win wars. The Third Corps was the main force in the first and second Gulf Wars. The Third Corps has a history dating back to World War Two, where it was the Phantom Corps under General Patton. It is one of Three Army Corps in the U.S. Military and the only one with heavy armor and the First Calvary Division.
As one of the most powerful and lethal maneuvering combat forces in the world, the III Corps requires force protection. A key element of that force protection is air and missile defense, which was used successfully against SCUD ballistic missile attacks from Iraq in both Iraq wars in defending both the command and Corps force structure.
Housed with the Third Corps Command is the 69th ADA Brigade made up of three Battalions of 12 fire units of over 100 Patriot-3 and Patriot-2 launchers. The 69th ADA Brigade is actively deployed under the 32nd AAMDC in one of the three North, Central, and South regions of the Persian Gulf on a permanent, rotational basis to ensure defense and protection for the U.S. Strategic Force structure and allies in that region against Iran. This protection includes the Persian Gulf state allies of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE.
Along with the 69th ADA’s Patriot Batteries are its Avenger Fire Units for Air Defense, which have been used in defense of U.S. Forward Operating Bases against mortars and rockets in Afghanistan.
Inside each Patriot Battalion is a critical single unit that ensures the mission and is the most unheralded: The Maintenance Battery, made up of specialists, NCOs and Officers. In these harsh conditions of operation and 24/7 requirements of the Middle East, their expertise, supply and excellence is critical.
MDAA had the honor to visit with the 69th soldiers who are in steadfast training for preparation to deploy as well as those soldiers returning from their deployment. Each year-long deployment of these men and women in ADA who go 24/7 in harsh desert conditions has resulted in mission success; Iran has fired no ballistic missiles into the Persian Gulf region and has been deterred by their presence. This is a success for which we as a nation and our allies in the Gulf are grateful.
Though our military forces are being withdrawn from Afghanistan, the force protection from the 69th and its 32nd AAMDC team is, and will be in the future, preventing the use of the “Hammer” in the Middle East.
It is, however, “Hammer Time” for the 69th and missile defense to prevent conflict and wars in the Middle East.
Here is to the 69th guarding the skies.