11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade
The mission of the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, the "Imperial Brigade," is to, on order, strategically deploy combat-ready units globally in support of the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command (32nd AAMDC) to conduct joint and combined air and missile defense operations in order to protect the Combatant Commander's critical priorities. The Brigade also, on order, conducts reset and training of Patriot, Avenger, and THAAD units.
The 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade was first constituted on 25 January 1907 in the Regular Army as the 133rd Company, Coast Artillery Corps and was organized on 1 August 1907 at Fort Terry, New York. It was redesignated on 3 July 1916 as the 3rd Company, Fort Terry (New York), on 31 August 1917 as the 13th Company, Coast Defenses of Long Island Sound, and again in December 1917 as Battery A, 56th Artillery (Coast Artillery Corps). Elements deployed to Europe during this period to participate in the Great War, with the unit receiving participation credit for 4 campaigns: Aisne-Marne, Oise-Aisne, Meuse-Argonne, and Champagne 1918. It was subsequently demobilized on 31 July 1921 at Camp Jackson, South Carolina.
The unit was reconstituted on 1 June 1922 in the Regular Army. At that time it was concurrently consolidated with the 4th Company, Coast Defenses of Long Island Sound, which had been first organized in June 1917 as the 7th Company, Fort H.G. Wright (New York) and then redesignated on 31 August 1917 as the 4th Company, Coast Defenses of Long Island Sound. The consolidated unit was redesignated as the 133rd Company, Coast Artillery Corps. The unit was redesignated on 1 July 1924 as Headquarters Battery, 11th Coast Artillery. Headquarters, 11th Coast Artillery was concurrently constituted and activated at Fort H.G. Wright, New York.
Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 11th Coast Artillery was inactivated on 7 April 1944 at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and disbanded entirely on 14 June 1944. Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 11th Coast Artillery was reconstituted on 28 June 1950 in the Regular Army. It was concurrently consolidated with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 11th Antiaircraft Artillery Group, which was then active. Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 11th Antiaircraft Artillery Group had been first constituted on 19 December 1942 in the Army of the United States as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 11th Antiaircraft Automatic Weapons Group and activated on 20 January 1943 at Camp Davis, North Carolina. It had been redesignated on 26 May 1943 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 11th Antiaircraft Artillery Group and inactivated on 6 October 1945 in Germany. It was subsequently allotted on 9 December 1948 to the Regular Army and activated on 15 January 1949 at Fort Bliss, Texas. The consolidated unit was designated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 11th Antiaircraft Artillery Group. The Group's combined honors and lineage meant that the consolidated unit had participation credit for 5 campaigns in the European Theater of Operations during the Second World War: Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe. The campaign streamer for Normandy featured an arrowhead indicating the unit's participation in the initial assault landings on D-Day, 6 June 1944.
The 11th Antiaircraft Artillery Group was inactivated 27 April 1953 at Fort Tilden, New York and subsequently reactivated on 15 January 1955 at Camp Stewart, Georgia. The unit was redesignated on 20 March 1958 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 11th Artillery Group. The Group was inactivated on 26 August 1960 at Rehoboth Defense Area, Massachusetts.
The 11th Artillery Group was reactivated on 1 May 1967 at Fort Carson, Colorado and inactivated there on 26 May 1967. The Group was again reactivated on 1 September 1971 at Fort Bliss, Texas. The unit was redesignated on 15 March 1972 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 11th Air Defense Artillery Group and reorganized and redesignated on 16 December 1980 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.
One part of the June and July 1990 command post exercise known as Internal Look involved the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, which was attached to the XVIII Airborne Corps' rapid deployment force. As soon as President George H. Bush decided to send American forces to Saudi Arabia, US Central Command (CENTCOM) asked for a Patriot unit from Fort Bliss, Texas as an additional demonstration of US resolve in the crisis. The request, however, did not indicate what size unit, a battery or a whole battalion, would be sent, and the post staff at Fort Bliss, home of Air Defense Artillery, opened the Fort's emergency operations center and began to plan for deploying the Patriot missile system. Around midnight on 11 August 1990, with none of the usual fanfare accorded deploying soldiers because of the need for secrecy, Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery, from one of the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade's 2 Patriot battalions, loaded personnel and equipment aboard three C-5s for the flight to Saudi Arabia for deployment in support of Operation Desert Shield.
Elements of the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade executed a phased deployment into Saudi Arabia to initially provide anti-theater ballistic missile defenses to critical assets. In Phase One, Task Force 2-7th Air Defense Artillery deployed 4 battery packages augmented with Stinger/ground defense from 5-62nd Air Defense Artillery to Dhahran, Al Jubayl, Ad Damman, and Umm Said. In Phase Two, Task Force 3-43rd Air Defense Artillery deployed 2 battery packages augmented with Stinger/ground defense from 5-62nd Air Defense Artillery to Riyadh to provide anti-theater ballistic missile defense.
The primary, higher-level air defense unit during Operation Desert Shield and subsequently Operation Desert Storm was the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. All of the American Patriot units that fought in Operation Desert Storm were drawn from the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and from several similar brigades of US Army, Europe's (USAREUR) 32nd Army Air Defense Command (AADCOM). During Operation Desert Storm, the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade provided theater ballistic missile defense with 12 patriot batteries from 1-7th Air Defense Artillery, 2-7th Air Defense Artillery, 2-43rd Air Defense Artillery, and 3-43rd Air Defense Artillery. Task Force 2-1st Air Defense Artillery provided theater ballistic missile defense to XVIII Airborne Corps with 3 patriot batteries. Task Force 8-43rd Air Defense Artillery defended VII Corps with 4 patriot batteries. Theater-wide, 19 of 19 Patriot batteries were mission capable. In addition, throughout the Gulf War, the Brigade's organic combat logisticians and soldiers of the 70th Ordnance Battalion moved thousands of pounds of repair parts, equipment and mail to support brigade elements. 70th Ordnance Battalion soldiers also provided conventional ammunition support to all forces in Southwest Asia. Brigade maintainers provided 24-hour support to Patriot missile batteries, Hawk platoons and Stinger teams located throughout the theater of operations. The Brigade subsequently received participation credit for the Defense of Saudi Arabia and Liberation and Defense of Kuwait campaigns in Southwest Asia.
11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade's Patriot batteries made history the night of 18-19 January 1991, when Alpha Battery, 2-7th Air Defense Artillery, protecting forces in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, recorded the first intercept of a ballistic missile in combat. As indicated by the debris from the ballistic that fell to the ground, the missile would have struck a village housing soldiers from VII Corps. Scud intercepts became a nightly event for the Patriot soldiers protecting coalition forces and the cities of Saudi Arabia and Israel. The fiery collisions of Patriot and Scud missiles were captured live by network television, and telecast worldwide to prime viewing audiences. The morale of the soldiers of the coalition, and the citizens of the United States, soared with each successful intercept.
11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade soldiers again demonstrated their commitment to readiness in March 1994, when 2-7th Air Defense Artillery rapidly deployed to the Republic of Korea in response to rising tensions over North Korea's nuclear program. Meanwhile, 3-43rd Air Defense Artillery received notification that its scheduled 6-month Southwest Asia rotation would, in-fact, occur months early. Just 50-days after the accelerated deployment notification, 3-43rd Air Defense Artillery soldiers assumed their mission in Southwest Asia. The 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade entered the history books as the first and at the time only brigade to simultaneously deploy 2 Patriot missile battalions to 2 different theaters of operation.
Simultaneous deployments did not end the Brigade's deployment efforts during this time: 1-43rd Air Defense Artillery began their plans to move the entire battalion to the Republic of Korea. 1-43rd Air Defense Artillery synchronized its deployment with the 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 1996, 2-7th Air Defense Artillery was inactivated and its personnel and equipment reflagged as 5th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery, which became assigned to the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.
Between February 1998 and January 1999, 3-43rd Air Defense Artillery performed two short notice deployments of Minimum Engagement Packages (MEPS), in support of an Air Force Expeditionary Wing (AEW). The Battalion minus along with 2 Patriot Batteries deployed on no notice to Southwest Asia as Iraqi provocations threatened to rekindle the smoldering embers of Desert Storm during Operations Desert Thunder I and II and Operation Desert Fox. During this period in September 1998, the 70th Ordnance Battalion was inactivated. 3-43rd Air Defense Artillery successfully completed another 6-month Southwest Asia rotation from July 1999 until December 1999. The battalion rear detachment performed superbly, taking care of families.
During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Brigade also taken part in a multitude of exercises and deployments. All of the units took part in Roving Sands exercises and live fires, and field training exercises. By that time, the Brigade consisted of a Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2 Patriot missile battalions (3-43rd Air Defense Artillery and 5-52nd Air Defense Artillery) and the 286th Signal Company.
In 2004, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade relocated from Fort Bliss, Texas to Korea to take control of the air and missile defense mission there, including 1-43rd Air Defense Artillery. In 2007, with the decision to again rotate Patriot-equipped air defense artillery battalions through Korea, the 1-43rd Air Defense Artillery returned to Fort Bliss, Texas and was reassigned to the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. In 2006, the 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. As part of the move and restructuring of that unit, the 2nd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment was reassigned to the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and remained at Fort Bliss.
On 28 May 2008, the US Army's first Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery was activated. 1st Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment was reorganized and redesignated as Battery A, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment and subsequently activated assigned to the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command at Fort Bliss, Texas. By September 2009, the Army also planned to activate Battery A, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, in FY 2010; Battery D, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, in FY12; and Battery B, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, in FY13.
The first THAAD launcher maintenance demonstrations were held by A-4th Air Defense Artillery in December 2009 and a cold region demonstration exercise was conducted in unique training in subzero temperatures. A-4th Air Defense Artillery also underwent 2 Table VIII certifications, conducted in April and October 2009.
By 2012, the Army had activated 3 Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system equipped batteries as planned, all assigned to the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. These were A and D Batteries, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment and A Battery, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment.
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