By Chaplain David DeRienzo, 5th Bn., 52nd ADA Regt., 11th ADA Bde:
(El Paso, Texas, Feb. 1, 2018)
AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar – The 5th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery “Team Deuce” Regiment, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, recently deployed from Fort Bliss to the U.S. Central Command area of operations.
While deployed, Team Deuce will conduct air-missile defense operations in the Arabic Gulf region.
After bidding an emotional farewell to friends and family back home, the battalion arrived in theater just prior to the New Year. Soldiers spent the first 48 hours on the ground getting acclimated to the new environment, adjusting sleep schedules to match the new time zone and orientating themselves to the unfamiliar base.
The orientation process felt a little overwhelming at first, but it didn’t take long before Soldiers learned to navigate the basics of everyday life.
“For the most part I thought it was a smooth transition. Once I was able to get my bearings and figure out how to call my wife, everything else fell right into place,” said Pfc. Isaac Cedillo, a human resources specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 5th Bn., 52nd ADA Regt., 11th ADA Bde.
Before assuming their mission, Team Deuce conducted a relief in place and a transfer of authority with 2nd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 11th ADA Bde.
The RIP process consisted primarily of three basic elements: introductions, inventories and certifications. Soldiers assigned to 2nd Bn., 43rd ADA Regt. introduced their counterparts in Team Deuce to the numerous people, places and procedures they will need to know to be successful in the coming months.
Some of the introductions involved simple things such as which dining facility has the shortest lines and which gym has the best equipment, but in other areas, the information was much more consequential.
Who do we call if the power goes out in our building? What do we do if a Soldier loses his or her identification card? What are the procedures for getting on and off the base? Where can we go for technical support or for help with equipment maintenance? And the list goes on.
As far as inventories are concerned, property accountability ranks as one of the most tedious aspects of the RIP process. Soldiers must inventory and account for each piece of equipment before the incoming commander is able to sign for it.
Although a daunting task, given the thousands of items that must be individually verified and inspected, the hard work is well worth it.
“I learned a lot during the inventory process, and it helped me see how important it is for a unit to take ownership of their equipment,” said 1st Lt. Latrell Watkins, the maintenance control officer for Team Deuce. “Taking ownership is a lengthy process, but when done correctly it pays enormous dividends down the road.”
Conducting effective AMD operations requires a cohesive team effort. Batteries divide Soldiers into individual crews and each crew must sustain a crew certification validation. The CCV evaluates a crew’s level of preparedness and expertise in the execution of their assigned mission.
Leaders subject the crews to a number of lifelike scenarios where they are tested on their tactical and technical proficiency. All of the Team Deuce’s crews were able to validate without any significant delays or retraining.
This is a testament to the hard work and preparation of the Team Deuce Soldiers in the months leading up to deployment.
Just prior to their departure, Col. Issac Gipson, commander of Top Notch said, “5-52 is one of the most well-prepared units I have ever seen going into theater. I have no doubt that they are ready to accomplish this mission.”
Before Team Deuce assumed full responsibility of operations, they conducted a transfer of authority ceremony with the outgoing battalion.
In his concluding remarks, Lt. Col. Daniel Swanson, commander of Team Deuce, encouraged the audience to “rest easy tonight; 5-52 will be watching the skies!”
This will be the battalion’s focus until the mission is complete.