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Historical THAAD Battery in Guam Transfers Authority to its Sister Unit

April 2, 2014
By Sgt. 1st Class Karry James, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command PAO

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Task Force Talon marks another historical milestone as its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery completes its mission and transfers authority to one of its sister THAAD units already on the ground in Guam, Apr. 1.

The outgoing battery, Alpha, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, has been providing tactical ballistic missile defense of the island of Guam against any potential threats for the last year. They will be heading back home to family and friends at Fort Bliss, TX after the transfer.

"A-4 has set the conditions for not only the continued success of this mission, but also for future successful deployments of THAAD to other areas of the world," said Lt. Col. Clyde Cochrane, commander, Task Force Talon. "The lessons learned here will enable future Air Defenders to deploy, emplace and accomplish their mission faster and better."

The "Transfer of Authority" ceremony is a military tradition that the two units conduct as a symbol that signifies the end of A-4's mission by the casing of its guidon and the start of A-2's assumption of responsibility for the defense of Guam by the unfurling of its guidon.

Distinguished guests in attendance at the ceremony included the U.S. territory of Guam Governor, Gov. Eddie Calvo, Guam National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Benny Paulino, and 36th Wing Commander, Air Force Brig. Gen. Steven Garland.

Before the transfer of authority ceremony took place, however, the two units went through a process known as "Relief in Place". Since their arrival over two weeks ago, A-2 Soldiers have been closely shadowing their counterparts from A-4 to absorb lessons learned and ensure continuity.

Continuity plays a very important role in this mission as the military rebalances toward the Pacific, especially regarding the established relationships within the community and joint forces as well as with coalition forces.

"I am very pleased that I was selected to remain on-station for a total of two years," said Cochrane. "This allows me to see the task force as a whole from the beginning to a stage where permanence begins to set in."

Task Force Talon is the combining of THAAD, military police, and communications in a joint working environment with the 36th Wing at Andersen Air Force Base and the Joint Region Marianas Headquarters on Guam. The 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command provides mission command of Task Force Talon.

"We arrived here with nothing in place, and with the hard work of all involved, we have built the task force up into a robust Integrated Air Missile Defense capability," Cochrane said. "I am very appreciative of all the support that we have received from the Air Force and Navy, without which the mission would have been exponentially harder to accomplish."

From the Army cooks working in the base dining facility to Task Force Talon's acceptance by the Air Force and Navy as an unofficial tenant unit at Andersen, Cochrane says that all are willing to continue to strive to be good team players and good neighbors.

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