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32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC)

The 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC) is a theater level Army air and missile defense multi-component organization with a worldwide, 72-hour deployment mission. The 32nd AAMDC is the Army Forces and Joint Forces Land Component Commanders' (ARFOR / JFLCC) organization that performs critical theater air and missile defense planning, integration, coordination, and execution functions. The 32nd AAMDC coordinates and integrates the 4 operational elements (or pillars) of theater missile defense (TMD): passive defense, active defense, attack operations, and battle management/command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (BM/C4I) to protect contingency, forward deployed, and reinforcing forces, as well as designated theater strategic assets. The 32nd AAMDC commands its assigned echelon above corps (EAC) ADA brigades and other assigned forces.

The 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command was first constituted in January 1918 in the Regular Army as Headquarters, 32nd Artillery Brigade (Coast Artillery Corps), and organized at Key West Barracks, Florida. Just 9 months after activation, the Brigade sailed to France to fight in the Great War as a member of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF). The unit arrived in Europe without equipment and weapons and had to borrow 75mm anti-aircraft guns from the French to take into combat. The Brigade distinguished itself in combat during the Battle of St. Mihiel Salient, the first AEF operation. The Brigade continued to distinguish itself by providing supporting fires during the advance from the Meuse River to the Argonne Forest, the final offensive of World War I. After the war, the Brigade spent a short period on occupation duty in France until it was ordered to return home. On 18 January 1919, the Brigade demobilized at Camp A. P. Hill, Virginia.

The unit was reconstituted on 14 October 1936 in the Regular Army as Headquarters, 32nd Coast Artillery Brigade. At that time it was concurrently consolidated with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 32nd Coast Artillery Brigade, which had been constituted on 18 October 1927 in the Regular Army. The consolidated unit was designated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 32nd Coast Artillery Brigade.

On 20 November 1942, the 32nd Coast Artillery Brigade was reactivated as a Regular Army unit at Fort Bliss, Texas and subsequently participated in World War II. The unit was redesignated on 28 May 1943 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 32nd Antiaircraft Artillery Brigade and in August 1943, it deployed to the Pacific Theater of Operations. It later served as the part of the Sixth US Army, fighting against the Japanese in New Guinea. In October 1944, the Brigade participated in the landing on Leyte in the Philippines, going ashore just one hour after the first assault. During the Philippine Campaign, the Brigade was credited with the destruction of more than 350 aircraft and damaging 129 more. It was estimated that anti-aircraft fire during the Leyte operations caused the loss of more than 300 Japanese pilots, 600 Japanese crew members, and 425 Japanese paratroopers. For its efforts in the Leyte Campaign, the Brigade was awarded the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation. During the post-war occupation of the Philippines, the Brigade trained Filipino scouts until its inactivation there on 30 May 1947.

On 6 February 1951, the Brigade was reactivated at Mildenhall, England to defend US Air Force bases from air attack. In June 1957, the Brigade deployed from England to Kaiserslautern, Federal Republic of Germany. The unit was redesignated on 20 March 1958 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 32nd Artillery Brigade. The unit was initially equipped with 75mm and 90mm anti-aircraft guns, but acquired the Nike Hercules Missile System in 1960 and the HAWK Missile System in 1961.

On 11 May 1966, the unit was redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 32nd Army Air Defense Command (AADCOM). Subordinate to the 32nd AADCOM were the 10th, 69th, 94th, and 108th Artillery Groups, making it the largest air defense unit in the US Army. As part of US Army, Europe (USAREUR) and Seventh US Army, it maintained a constant watch over West Germany in support of NATO. In November 1975, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 32nd AADCOM moved from Kapaun Barracks in Kaiserslautern to Cambrai-Fritsch Kaserne in Darmstadt, Germany.

In 1985, the Army formulated the Air-Land Battle Doctrine to prepare for what seemed to be and inevitable clash with the Warsaw Pact forces. At that time, the 32nd AADCOM Commander, Major General Victor J. Hugo, stated: "The end result of all these doctrinal and hardware improvements [Patriot and HAWK modifications], will be a Theater Army Air Defense Command that is leaner, prouder, more skilled and more capable to face the threat of 1990 and beyond." After overcoming some reliability problems, the Patriot missile system was issued in 1985 to units of the 32nd AADCOM. At this point, the Patriot was capable only of shooting down aircraft, including helicopters. Subsequent upgrades were intended to give the Patriot system a theater missile defense capability and 2 Patriot batteries from the 32nd Army Air Defense Command's 10th Air Defense Artillery Brigade were designated for the airlift to Israel during the Gulf War in 1990-1991. 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 the 32nd AADCOM.

Drawdowns in Europe following the end of the Cold War eventually led to the Brigade being inactivated on 15 July 1995 in Darmstadt, Germany. However, in August 1996, to meet the growing theater ballistic missile threat, the Chief of Staff of the Army directed the activation of a provisional command that became the foundation of the Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC) and directed the AAMDC to forego the normal force development process and activate as a multi-component unit with both Regular Army and Army National Guard Soldiers. The provisional AAMDC, assigned to the US Army's Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), was deployed on short notice to Southwest Asia in February 1998, in support of Operations Southern Watch and Desert Thunder. Deployed in support of Combined Task Force - Kuwait, the provisional AAMDC performed critical theater-level air and missile defense planning, integration, coordination and execution functions. The unit coordinated and integrates the operational elements of theater missile defense in support of the ground maneuver forces. The unit commanded echelon-above-corps ADA brigades comprising the Patriot Task Force, which included Task Force 1-1st Air Defense Artillery and Task Force 3-43rd Air Defense Artillery.

After completing this mission, the provisional Command conducted Reception, Staging, Onward Movement, Integration and assumed command of a second patriot task force, wrote the Air and Missile Defense plan for Operation Desert Thunder, and executed the theater air and missile defense mission in a contingency theater. Further, the Command played the pivotal role in developing procedures for combined US and Kuwaiti theater air and missile defense, interoperability, and training; expanding the theater ballistic missile alert and warning architecture within CTF-Kuwait; and conducting Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) training while performing its mission in a contingency environment.

While deployed to the Southwest Asia (theater of operations, the unit's commander also performed the functions of Theater Army Air Defense Coordinator (TAADCOORD) and Deputy Area Air Defense Commander (DAADC), ensuring that Army air and missile defense was integrated with counterair, active defense operations, and planning at the theater level. The Command provided liaison officers to each of the major theater elements: Air Component Commander (ACC), Land Component Commander (LCC), Battlefield Coordination Detachment (BCD), Joint Special Operations Task Force (JSOTF), and Allies to provide coordinated execution of integrated AD and TMD operations.

With the addition of the Command to the joint coalition task force, soldiers on the ground had access to a new early warning system. This system, which was basically a redundant system relying on digital pagers, could alert soldiers to possible biological and chemical agents before they were released by incoming Scud missiles. Within seconds of a Scud launch, the 32nd AAMDC TOC could predict its trajectory and where a warhead would impact. In less than 2 minutes, this information would then be relayed to the unit commanders who were at the predicted impact site. These commanders would then pass the word to the troops, giving them time to protect themselves. By monitoring the air picture, the 32nd AAMDC TOC could also pinpoint where a Scud missile had been launched. Once the location has been discovered, it was just a matter of calling in to the land-component command to counterattack the site. This assured that no further missiles would ever be launched from that site again.

On 16 October 1998, the provisional command was inactivated and formally reflagged as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, which had previously been been designated as the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 32nd Army Air Defense Command. This unit was activated at Fort Bliss, Texas. The Command was assigned to Headquarters, United States Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), per FORSCOM Permanent Orders 271-2 dated 28 September 1998. Effective with the activation, the 32nd AAMDC assumed command and control of the 11th and the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigades. In addition, the Army force structure provided for a reserve component command to mirror the 32nd AAMDC. The 32nd AAMDC was aligned with the Army National Guard's 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command.

The 32nd AAMDC became a one-of-a-kind theater level Army air and missile defense multi-component organization with a worldwide, 72-hour deployment mission. 32nd AAMDC continued to support contingency deployments to Southwest Asia and an intense exercise schedule in Korea. In November 1998, the 32nd AAMDC deployed to Kuwait to conduct contingency planning and coordination in support of CTF-Kuwait during Operation Desert Thunder II/Southern Overwatch. During the period from December 1998 to January 1999, the unit was again deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Desert Fox. The 32d AAMDC and its provisional predecessor had also performed and validated its critical theater missile defense mission and conducted extensive training during numerous joint and combined exercises, including Prairie Warrior 96; Ulchi Focus Lens 96, 97 and 98; Roving Sands 96 and 97; Coherent Defense 97; the US/Russian theater missile defense Exercise in January 1998; and JTFEX/TMDI in February 1999.

Used for attack operations, standard Army processes at the time could be unwieldy and inefficient. A more streamlined method was needed that placed theater missile defense responsibility under a single executive agent. Such a method existed and was being refined in Korea. Commander in chief, United Nations Command and Combined Forces Command, had designated a single authority for the conduct of theater missile defense operations in the Korean theater of operations, in this case, the Commander, Air Component Command, and Commanding General, Seventh Air Force. In a break with Army tradition, the Commanding General, Eighth US Army, gave up operational control of the 32nd AAMDC when Seventh Air Force is in theater, effectively establishing a single focused authority over theater missile defense on the peninsula.

The theater missile defense operations center functions as a staff under the combined forces air component command and was responsible for planning, coordinating, and integrating theater-level missile operations. The center was split-based with Seventh Air Force and Republic of Korea Air Force elements in theater and 32nd AAMDC in the United States. During either an exercise or in wartime, 32d AAMDC collocated in the hardened theater air control center and integrated operations with the Seventh Air Force cell and Korean air force personnel at Osan air base. In addition, it dispatched liaison teams to the deep operations coordination cell of the ground component command, the Eighth US Army rear command post, Combined Unconventional Warfare Task Force Headquarters, and other commands.

Joint attack operations was an ongoing venture, beginning with intelligence preparation of the battlespace conducted jointly between the 32nd AAMDC and the Seventh Air Force intelligence cell. Information sharing aids the process. Attack strategy was jointly drafted and approved. Pre-planned and immediate attack mission requests are developed. The 32nd AAMDC brought experience, as well as considerable technical capabilities with its intelligence tools such as the generic area limitation environment and all source analysis systems. It also provides a measure of continuity vis--vis the one-year tour lengths of the personnel assigned in Korea. The in-country Seventh Air Force analysts bring enormous Korea-specific knowledge and access to quick-response Air Force collection systems. With these resources, joint intelligence identifies the enemy theater missile order of battle, operational patterns and techniques, capabilities and weaknesses, likely operating areas, and other exploitable information.

In late 2002, elements of the 32nd AAMDC deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During Operation Iraqi Freedom the 32nd AAMDC deployed more than 80 percent of the Patriot force including over 6,500 Soldiers to 7 different countries, executed 9 for 9 confirmed warhead kills, executed the largest air defense artillery movement by air and proved without a doubt the effective lethality of the Patriot system. Thousands of coalition and civilian lives were saved through the direct efforts of the 32nd AAMDC and its subordinate units. Iraqi Freedom's successes were the culmination of thousands of man-hours spent in planning and training through multiple worldwide exercises.

As part of the Army's Transformation Plan, the 32nd AAMDC transitioned from a multi-component force to a completely active component command on 15 September 2004. On this same day, the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade was detached from the 32nd AAMDC and reassigned as an organic component of the Eighth US Army in Korea. On 16 April 2007, the 32nd AAMDC assumed training and readiness oversight for all CONUS-based active duty air defense artillery brigades, which included the 11th, 31st, 69th, and 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigades.

On 15 October 2008, the 32d AAMDC deployed with elements of the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, and 2 Patriot battalions to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and subsequently had more than 2,000 Soldiers deployed worldwide.

In January 2013, elements of the 32nd AAMDC deployed to Turkey under the operational control of USAREUR's 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command in support of NATO missile defense operations. The NATO force had been organized to respond to a request from the Turkish government to augment its air defense capabilities to defend its population and territory from potential threats originating in Syria. USAREUR's partners from Germany and the Netherlands also planned to contribute air defense forces to the multinational operation, dubbed Operation Anatolian Protector.

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