Gen. Lloyd Austin, Central Command commander, speaks to a group of soldiers with 1st Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, regarding their roles and importance in their mission to defend assets in Southwest Asia on Oct. 8. The battalion recently deployed in theater in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Sgt. Brooke Culler | U.S. Army

SOUTHWEST ASIA — Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of the United States Central Command, had an opportunity to visit soldiers and leaders of 1st Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, in October. For the Fort Hood-based battalion, which falls under 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade for deployment, the soldiers and leaders were able to showcase the role of the Patriot Missile System to one of the highest distinguished visitors overseeing Southwest Asia.

Col. Michael Morrissey, commander of 31st, was present as Lt. Col. Maurice Barnett, battalion commander, escorted Austin around the Patriot site. Barnett briefed Austin on the specific role that Patriot plays in defense of critical assets in the region.

After the initial brief and tour of the site, Austin had the opportunity to meet with different soldiers who filled vital roles in the operation of defending the skies. Each soldier explained their specific responsibility and how it ties into the overall mission.

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