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S.C. National Guard air-defense unit validated for missions

By Maj. Karla Frey | 263rd Army Air Missile Defense Command | Feb. 14, 2018

FORT BLISS, Texas - The South Carolina Army National Guard’s 263rd Army Air Missile Defense Command has routinely deployed Soldiers to defend the skies over the homeland and overseas. For these missions, the unit always stresses the importance of the validation process, where commanders test their unit’s readiness.

In early January through February, the 263rd AAMDC mobilized nearly 300 Soldiers for year-long deployments to protect the skies over the National Capitol Region and also in support of operations overseas with U.S. Army Europe. The validation process to prepare these Soldier for these missions took place in Texas.

“Fort Bliss provides a training venue that allows for the airspace necessary to replicate the multiple track of scenarios the unit might see in their theater of operations,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Timothy Sheriff, commander, 263rd AAMDC.

The 263rd AAMDC validation included a live-fire event where Soldiers engaged outlaw drones with the Avenger weapons system and shoulder-mounted Stinger missiles during both day and night fire operations.

U.S. Army Maj. Brian D. Dimond, an air defense coordinator in the 263rd AAMDC, said the goal is to conduct training led by First Army and 263d AAMDC to ensure current tactics, techniques, procedures are implemented within the respective theaters.

“The combination of these efforts provides mobilizing Soldiers with a training environment and experience that is so accurate to their real-world mission, that the only significant difference is the training venue,” added Dimond.

“As with any other mission set, the training is always evolving and expanding based on improvements and changes in capability,” said Sheriff. “Our Soldiers are trained to be at the cutting edge of operations in the air defense community and bring a wealth of professionalism to the missions they support.”