OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea -- Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Soldiers across the Korean Peninsula tested their intellect, endurance and strength Oct. 23-26 at Osan Air Base, South Korea, during the 35th ADA Brigade Missile Defender of the Year competition.
Every fall, Soldiers from 6th Battalion, 52nd ADA Regiment, garrisoned out of Suwon Air Base, along with 2nd Battalion, 1st ADA Regiment, based out of Camp Carroll, compete against each other for a year's worth of bragging rights.
"The most challenging part of the MDOY competition is the combination of the physical and mental aspects," said 2nd Lt. Connor Camp, 6-52 ADA Battalion. "It really gives us a chance to demonstrate our ability to show we are well-rounded Soldiers."
Sixteen teams competed in a variety of events ranging from a demanding ruck march with embedded situational training exercises throughout the course, to a formal board in front of the brigade command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Eric McCray.
Each participating crew was either nominated or qualified at the battalion level, and were evaluated on a series of air defense artillery specific drills and competencies before advancing to the brigade level competition.
The winning team for the Information and Coordination Central crew went to Capt. John Hohng, Sgt. Luiz Sanchez and Pfc. Lawrence Mabute with 6-52 ADA Battalion. The ICC is the battalion's control center. The crew provides tactical supervision while networking with firing batteries and adjacent units.
The top Tactical Command System crew was Sgt. Cesar Castaneda, Sgt. Derrick Gordon, Pfc. Trenton Broughton and Pfc. Dequawnta Raspberry with 6-52 ADA Battalion. The TCS crew is a battalion asset that directly supports the ICC by providing early warning detection and situational awareness for the commander.
Spc. Ian Fletcher and Pfc. Noah Peyman assigned to 2-1 ADA Battalion won the best Systems Maintenance crew. The System Maintenance crew conducts scheduled and preventive maintenance and services exclusive to the Patriot station to sustain continuous operations.
The best Battery Command Post crew was Pfc. Austin Sparks and Pfc. Hipolito Gonzalez with 6-52 ADA Battalion. The BCP crew monitors joint information networks to provide early warning detection and relays that information to the Engagement Control Station.
The winning crew for the ECS was comprised of 2nd Lt. Connor Camp, Spc. Joseph Cork and Spc. Alex Sanders of 6-52 ADA Battalion. The ECS is the battery's control center for air battle management, and the crew responsible for launching interceptors at enemy missiles during air battle operations.
The top Launcher Station crew went to Spc. Gerald Palmer and Pfc. Arturo Del Villar of 2-1 ADA Battalion. Soldiers working in this crew execute the loading and reloading of interceptors, conduct routine maintenance and maneuver the Patriot launching station between firing locations.
Sgt. Glayton Gadson, Spc. Aaron Haines, Pfc. Clayton Glauner and Pfc. Carlos Barrientos won the best Sentinel crew. These Soldiers are responsible for employing the mobile AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel radar to alert short range air defense crews of hostile targets.
Finally, the number one Avenger crew went to Sgt. Kindal Holeman and Pfc. Brandi Brown. Avenger crews are part of the short range air defense team. They utilize a surface-to-air missile system mounted on a Humvee to shoot down enemy targets.
The brigade's headquarters and headquarters battery was in charge of planning, coordinating and resourcing the competition. It remains one of the brigade's most exciting and high profile events of the year.
"Overall, I think the event went well," said Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Rasberry, 35th ADA Brigade MDOY noncommissioned officer in charge. "The Soldiers were challenged and each crew clearly demonstrated they belonged to be here. Now we're looking forward to the banquet, which is always a great event."
The winning crews received the Army Commendation Medal, and will be recognized again in late November during the Missile Defender of the Year banquet. The banquet will also recognize the top South Korean Missile Defender of the Year, along with Air Force and Navy service members, for their contributions to ballistic missile defense in support of the ROK-U.S. alliance.