Spc. Vandrick P. Mendiola, infantryman with A Co., 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, Security Forces, Task Force Talon describes anti-drone capabilities and other perimeter guard measures to Col. Patrick M. Costello, 38th Air Defense Artillery commander and Command Sgt. Maj. Neil Sartain during a Site Armadillo command walk-through, Oct. 7. The 38th ADA Brigade command team met with members of TF Talon, learned their daily operations and welcomed them to the Pacific Guardian Brigade team during a visit to Guam, Oct. 6-8. (Photo by Sgt. Raquel Villalona)
ANDERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- The 38th Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Brigade command team personally welcomed members of Task Force (TF) Talon to the team during a visit to Guam, Oct. 6-8.
The visit started with a mobilization ceremony for the 1224th Engineer Support “Hita” Company, Guam Army National Guard (ARNG) Oct. 6, placing the unit on active duty status in preparation to assume the security forces (SECFOR) 12-month rotation mission of Site Armadillo from Task Force Guahan, 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, GU ARNG.
“This occasion marks the first step in the official transfer of authority between security force units in one of our nation’s most vital and strategic locations,” said Col. Patrick M. Costello, 38th ADA Brigade commander. “It marks the continuation of the unique multi-composition of the task force, a model that demonstrates the versatility of our military, but more importantly demonstrates to the Army, what right looks like. The mobilization marks the continuation of the integration of reserve component and active duty Soldiers as a total force to strengthen the defense of U.S. citizens, U.S. territories, and safeguard our national interests.”
The Indo-Pacific region covers 52 percent of the earth’s surface, making Guam’s strategic location immeasurable to the air defense mission.
“Our geographic location here in Guam, in the Pacific theater, is one that we are seen as the epicenter in the defense for threats in the region,” said Guam Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero, GU ARNG commander-in-chief. “We are here to celebrate the transition of TF Guahan to Hita Company’s 71 Soldiers that will deploy for a year to guard and protect the assets in the Pacific and defend the nation.”
Hita Company will officially join TF Talon and assume the SECFOR mission from TF Guahan, 1-294th Inf. Regt. during an upcoming transfer of authority ceremony.
“Since 2013, TF Talon has cultivated a strong and lasting relationship with the Guam Army National Guard,” Costello remarked. “Today’s ceremony and the upcoming transfer of authority symbolizes the continued commitment between both organizations to defend Guam and support the U.S Indo-Pacific Command Regional Homeland Defense mission. TF Talon continues its historic legacy as the Army’s only forward-stationed, multi-component air defense task force.”
TF Talon is comprised of four elements, each contributing to the holistic mission of defending the Indo-Pacific region from any ballistic missile threats.
“TF Talon is made up of a command and control (C2) section/headquarters element; a SECFOR element, currently TF Guahan until Hita Company assumes the rotation next month; and E-3 Air Defense Artillery-THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense), which provides the air defense aspect at our Guam location” said Sgt. Maj. Dennis M. Petty, TF Talon senior enlisted advisor. “Members of the 307th Expeditionary Signal Battalion-CPN (command post nodes) detachment from Wahiawa, Hawaii, provide the SMART-T (Secure, Mobile, Anti-jam, Reliable, Tactical-Terminal), which enables satellite maintenance and communications capabilities essential to the mission due to the austere location.”
TF Talon, originally established by the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command in 2013, joined the ranks of the 38th ADA Brigade on Oct. 1, 2019. The 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade is also comprised of 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery; 10th Missile Defense Battery; and 14th Missile Defense Battery.
Maj. Bryan Z. Lipe, TF Talon officer-in-charge and Petty provided Costello and Command Sgt. Maj. Neil Sartain, 38th ADA Brigade senior enlisted advisor, a guide through TF Talon’s area of operations to welcome Soldiers to the Pacific Guardian Brigade and assess what systems and procedures are in place to continue mission success and efficiency. Together, the leaders gaged what areas required improvement and where Soldiers and processes were excelling.
“It is important for TF Talon to maintain proficiency with the THAAD system and all the components that go into making the defense of the region possible, but we need to start looking at the bigger picture,” said Lipe. “The task force seeks to integrate air defense training, not only with the GU ARNG, but also with aviation and maritime elements so that we can train like we will fight.”
To move forward with this objective, leadership met with U.S. Navy Capt. Hans Sholley, Joint Region Marianas chief of staff, and U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Gentry W. Boswell, JRM deputy commander, to discuss future multi-domain training, enhance interoperability and synchronize service capabilities, Oct. 8.
As tensions continue to grow with China, Russia and North Korea, the integration of TF Talon’s air and missile defense with joint partners remains crucial in the Indo-Pacific region