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1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment

The 2nd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment is a patriot-equipped air defense artillery battalion assigned to the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and based at Fort Bliss, Texas.

The 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment was first constituted on 14 August 1901 in the Regular Army as the 107th Company, Coast Artillery, Artillery Corps and organized on 19 August 1901 at Fort Preble, Maine. It was redesignated on 2 February 1907 as the 107th Company, Coast Artillery Corps. The unit was reorganized and redesignated in July 1916 as the 1st Company, Fort Preble (Maine) and again on 21 July 1917 as Battery E, 6th Provisional Regiment, Coast Artillery Corps. It was redesignated on 5 February 1918 as Battery E, 51st Artillery (Coast Artillery Corps) and again on 7 August 1918 as Battery E, 43d Artillery (Coast Artillery Corps). Elements were deployed to Europe during the Great War and the unit received participation credit for St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne, and Lorraine 1918 campaigns.

After the end of the Great War, the unit was inactivated on 17 August 1921 at Camp Eustis, Virginia. While inactivate it was additionally designated on 1 June 1922 as the 107th Company, Coast Artillery Corps, a designation that was abolished on 1 July 1924. Still inactivate it was again redesignated on 1 July 1924 as Battery E, 43d Coast Artillery. It was disbanded entirely on 14 June 1944. The unit was reconstituted on 28 June 1950 in the Regular Army and was concurrently consolidated with Battery A, 64th Field Artillery Battalion, which was then active. Battery A, 64th Field Artillery Battalion had been first constituted on 26 August 1941 in the Regular Army as Battery A, 64th Field Artillery Battalion, an element of the 25th Infantry Division and was activated on 1 October 1941 in Hawaii. The consolidated unit designated as Battery A, 64th Field Artillery Battalion, an element of the 25th Infantry Division. The combined lineage and honors saw the unit awarded participation credit for campaigns during the Second World War in both the European Theater of Operations (Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, and Central Europe) and the Pacific Theater of Operations (Central Pacific, Guadalcanal, Northern Solomons, New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago, Leyte, and Luzon; campaign streamer with arrowhead for Leyte indicates participation in the initial assault landings).

Battery A, 64th FIeld Artillery Battalion was deployed to Korea as an element of the 25th Infantry Division and participated in 10 campaigns of the Korean War: UN Defensive, UN Offensive, CCF Intervention, First UN Counteroffensive, CCF Spring Offensive, UN Summer-Fall Offensive, Second Korean Winter, Korea Summer-Fall 1952, Third Korean Winter, and Korea Summer 1953. Returning to Hawaii with the 25th Infantry Division after the War, the unit was inactivated on 1 February 1957 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and relieved from assignment to the 25th Infantry Division.

The unit was redesignated on 12 August 1958 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Missile Battalion, 43rd Artillery with its organic elements concurrently constituted. The Battalion was activated on 1 September 1958 at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. It as inactivated there on 25 March 1966. While inactive, the unit was redesignated on 1 September 1971 as the 1st Missile Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery.

The unit was redesignated on 13 September 1972 as the 1st Battalion, 43d Air Defense Artillery, and activated at Fort Richardson, Alaska. It was inactivated there on 31 July 1979.

The Battalion was reactivated on 1 May 1982 at Fort Bliss, Texas as a Patriot-equipped air defense artillery battalion. During Operation Desert Storm, the 1-43rd Air Defense Artillery Fire Direction Section deployed to Saudi Arabia to assist in coordinating HAWK and Patriot units in the Air Defense Task Force. The Fire Direction Section assisted in coordinating many Scud intercepts. Elements deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm received participation credit for the Cease-Fire campaign.

In October 1994, 1-43rd Air Defense Artillery deployed to the Korean theater to relieve 2-7th Air Defense Artillery in the tactical ballistic missile defense of the peninsula. 1-43rd synchronized its deployment with 2-7th Air Defense Artillery's return, providing the Republic of Korea, for the first time in history, a permanent basing of the Patriot missile system. In Korea, the Battalion was assigned to the 6th Cavalry Brigade (Air Combat). This was due to the fact that the Brigade had a secondary theater missile defense mission, with its helicopters tasked to locate and engage enemy theater ballistic missions in the event of hostilities resuming on the peninsula.

The 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery deployed Patriot batteries at Osan and Kunsan Air Base on South Korea's western coast and Suwon Air Base, a South Korean air force installation. 48 fire units of Patriot missiles were deployed at Suwon, Osan and Kunsan airbases in South Korea. HHB, 2 firing batteries (A and B Batteries), and the 3rd Maintenance Company resided at Suwon Air Base. Suwon Air Base was a Republic of Korea Air Base, one of 5 co-located operating sites that could house deployed forces if war erupted on the divided peninsula. It appeared that the 6 American Patriot batteries could be re-deployed at most (if not all) of the 5 co-located operating bases, as well as at Osan Air Base. C and D Batteries were normally deployed at Osan Air Base, the home of the US Seventh Air Force and 51st Fighter Wing. E and F Batteries were at Kunsan Air Base, home of the US 8th Fighter Wing, which was not one of the 5 co-located operating bases.

The Battalion's mission was to defend against air attack. The 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery was a 6-battery, Echelon Above Corps Patriot missile battalion with a Headquarters and Headquarters Battery and a direct support maintenance company (3rd Maintenance Company). A battery at the time was composed of 8 launchers of PAC-2 and PAC-3 missiles, each having 4 and 16 interceptors, respectively. By the end of the 1990s, 1-43rd Air Defense Artillery was the largest and most forward deployed Patriot Battalion in the world.

In September 2003, it was announced that 1-43rd Air Defense Artillery had received new equipment to improve its current capability from the Patriot Advanced Capability-2 (PAC-2) to the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) as a part of the Army's transformation and modernization program in support of the Theater Missile Defense Plan. The upgraded Patriot system brought enhanced defensive capabilities to the peninsula and contributed to the overall deterrence US forces brought to the alliance. The PAC-3 system represented a total upgrade to Patriot, including both hardware and software modifications throughout the US Army. The PAC-3 was the latest, planned improvement to the Patriot missile system, and provided for the enhanced defenses for Republic of Korea and US forces and facilities. Part of the upgrade and new enhanced capabilities included the hit-to-kill technology to destroy incoming ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft.

Twelve officers and enlisted members of 1-43rd Air Defense Artillery were awarded the Joint Service Achievement Medal for outstanding service during Exercise Ulchi-Focus Lens (UFL) 94, which lasted from 20 August to 4 September 2004. UFL was a ROK-US Combined Forces Command (CFC), simulation driven, OPLAN oriented Command Post Exercise (CPX) conducted annually in the Republic of Korea. UFL had been taking place since 1976. The purpose of UFL was to exercise joint and combined plans and procedures focusing on strategic, operational, and tactical aspects of military operations on the Korean Peninsula while improving US-ROK combat readiness and interoperability. This joint and combined political-military training exercise emphasized flexible deterrent options, ROK mobilization, US reinforcement, and synchronization of deep, close, and rear battles through the use of state-of-the-art wargaming computer simulations and support infrastructures. Within this complex and multi-faceted exercise, Patriot consistently played a role critical to the success of the overall mission.

In late 2004, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade was relocated from Fort Bliss, Texas to Korea. Headquartered at Osan Air Base, the Brigade took control of the 1-43rd Air Defense Artillery and responsibility for theater air and missile defense missions. In 2005, the 6th Cavalry Brigade was inactivated. In 2007, the 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery returned to Fort Bliss, Texas as the US Army made the decision to rotate Patriot-equipped air defense artillery battalions through deployments to Korea. The Battalion was reassigned to the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade at Fort Bliss. In 2009, the decision was made to again have a permanent forward deployed Patriot presence in Korea, but the 1-43rd Air Defense Artillery remained in Fort Bliss, Texas.




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