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NEWS | Nov. 20, 2015

Air Defenders Break Down Language Barriers, Build up Core Competency during Exercise

By Staff Sgt. Heather Denby

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea – Soldiers of 6-52 Air Defense Artillery Battalion partnered with Republic of Korea airmen of 177th Air Defense Artillery to conduct a combined ADA training event Nov. 17-18 at Suwon Air Base.

The 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade initiated Combined Interoperability Exercises with their ROK air defense counterparts in 2013 in an effort to streamline ADA operations across the peninsula.

“In just a few years, we’ve managed to come a long way with our exchange of information and interoperability of allied Patriot air defense systems,” said Chief Warrant Officer Ron Brotherton, 35th ADA Brigade standardizations officer. “The end state that was envisioned by air and missile defense leaders was that we develop and integrate a single gunnery standard for the entire peninsula, and we are making leaps and bounds toward that end state.”

Soldiers and ROK airmen began the event by identifying key words, or brevity codes, they could use during an air battle to communicate an intended response to a potential threat.

“There was definitely a language barrier when we sat down and started to talk about what we would say and how we would respond to things like a Tactical Ballistic Missile attack,” said 1st Lt. Megan Parris, 6-52 ADA tactical director. “Each unit has their own language, not just spoken but also when it comes to air defense procedures, so we had to establish words and a common defense response that we could both understand and carry out.”

The discussion was followed by the execution of a combined Reconfigurable Table Top Trainer (RT3) lab exercise using joint brevity codes in order to deconflict fires and prevent over engagement.

“We started out by conducting an air battle with our organic crews, but by the end of the event we were sitting side-by-side with our ROK counterparts working as a single crew and able to accomplish the same thing,” said Sgt. Barry Baxter, a Patriot fire control enhanced operator/maintainer with 6-52 ADA. “Air defense tactics between the two countries are very similar and once we broke down the language barrier, we were able to enhance our air and missile defense core competencies by successfully demonstrating combined air battles.”

The combined event culminated with one final collective event: Playing soccer.

“Competitive sports can play an important role in unit cohesiveness,” said Parris. “A lot of times, a person’s true personality can come out on the sports field when a person isn’t in the work place and can feel more relaxed.”

“It’s another way for us to work together and develop the unique bonds that are forged by serving in South Korea,” she said. “Ultimately, we are stronger when we work together and that goes for the soccer field and the battlefield.”
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