MCGREGOR RANGE, N.M. - Two Army National Guard units will soon be using a combination of air defense systems to guard the National Capital Region and the nation's leaders.
The 2nd Battalion, 174th Air Defense Artillery, Ohio National Guard and the 2nd Battalion, 263rd ADA Minimum Deployment Package, South Carolina National Guard were tested in New Mexico on a number of air defense weapons late last month.
The units participated in a tactical live-fire exercise using the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, known as NASAMS, along with the Avenger weapon system, and the Stinger Man Portable Air Defense System. They were tested by First Army Division West and South Carolina's 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command
First Army Division West's 1st Battalion, 362nd Air Defense Artillery "Renegades" of its 5th Armored Brigade helped test the Soldier skills of the Guard members who were spread out working their posts throughout McGregor Range and Oro Grande, N.M.
"Our purpose ... is to execute the NASAMS live-fire exercise in order to demonstrate our true proficiency, in order to validate our protectors in technology and ensure that our training, tactics, techniques and procedures are valid," said Army Lt. Col. Michael Nelson, 174th ADA commander. "What we're doing here on shot number one is proofing upgrades to the architecture of the National Capital Region that enable more options to tactical decision makers."
The NASAMS exercise consisted of three fire missions that included firing the very latest AIM-120 C7 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile and the AIM 9X Sidewinder, which was "kind of a first for the system, and certainly a first for the National Guard, to launch a different type of missile out of a NASAMS system," Nelson said.
Just north of the NASAMS location, the tactical live fire for the Avenger weapons missile system was being conducted at Range 91, north of Oro Grande.
"Fantastic training. We had a high [success rate] with our night fire last night," said Army 1st. Lt. Keith Hutcheson, 2nd Battalion, 174th ADA. "The training received from 'Renegades' was exceptional."
For many of the air defender Soldiers from the Ohio and South Carolina Army National Guard, it was their first time shooting off a missile, and many found it to be exciting and beneficial for their upcoming mission. They said it helped build confidence in themselves and their weapon systems.