Unit takes on new mission in Southwest Asia

U.S. Army photo - Lt. Col. Alan A. Wiernicki and Command Sgt. Maj. Evaristo Torres Jr., uncase the 2nd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment’s colors at the transfer of authority ceremony Feb. 4 in Southwest Asia.

By Sgt. Maria L. Asenbrener

69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade public affairs

SOUTHWEST ASIA - The 2nd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, from Fort Bliss assumed the air defense mission on Feb. 4 in Southwest Asia from the 3rd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, also based at Fort Bliss.

In addition to the pre-deployment training that 2nd Battalion conducted prior to the deployment, the two battalions worked together during the last few weeks to ensure that incoming battalion would be ready to take the reins from the departing as they left Southwest Asia.

The battalions sealed the deal with a transfer of authority ceremony Feb. 4, which symbolized the successful completion of the 3rd's deployment and the beginning of the 2nd Battalion's deployment.

Col. James H. Jenkins, commander of the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade in Southwest Asia, spoke at the ceremony

"The soldiers in (3rd Battalion) exemplify Army Strong," Jenkins said.

The 3rd Battalion has played a key role in wars and battles throughout history, and now the soldiers were included in that lineage, Jenkins added.

The battalion used teamwork to get through this deployment.

Soldiers, noncommissioned officers and officers of the battalion worked together to ensure that the unit's missions and objectives were achieved, and now a battalion known for its high standards and discipline moved in to take their place, Jenkins said.

During 3rd Battalion's deployment, steps were taken to improve their PATRIOT sites for current and future soldiers deployed to the Southwest Asia region.

Lt. Col. Douglas J. Waddingham, 3rd Battalion commander, applauded his maintenance company and the operators who maintained and updated the equipment during the past year. He also commended the battery commanders who made their sites more secure and permanent.

With the support of brigade and the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing in the area of operations, the 2nd Battalion will continue on the path started by their predecessors to develop these sites, Waddingham said.

"Southwest Asia is safer because of the protection you provided," Waddingham said to his soldiers during the ceremony.

The 2nd Battalion is ready to take on this mission, said Lt. Col. Alan A. Wiernicki, the battalion commander.

Its soldiers are ready to stand with the brigade to complete its mission, and the soldiers in the unit are proud to be members of this joint-forces team, he added.

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