Soldiers strive to be proficient on their weapons system, with the understanding that proficiency can save lives.
Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery began their Table VIII training with this mindset. For many their previous experience helped them excel during the training.
"I feel like I'll do awesome. After all, it's our fourth or fifth rodeo. It comes naturally as you do it more and more," said Sgt. Matthew Andress, A Battery, 3-2nd ADA.
The Table VIII evaluates a battery's ability to conduct air and missile defense operations in a field environment.
The training and evaluation covers everything from initial notification, to site selection and equipment setup. Above all, safety is a big concern for all those involved.
"Some of the obstacles we faced were terrain and safety, and terrain equals safety. If you commit a safety violation it's game over for your battery," added Andress.
For some Soldiers, the training helped strengthen the military bond of brotherhood.
"It helped get us all closer, and we all feel a lot more comfortable with each other," said Pfc. Tommy Burgoon. "We all love what we do, and we're here for each other and our country."
Although the training went smoothly, there were still a few hiccups.
"The challenges that we faced were pairing new crew members. We had to swap out crew members and adapt and overcome, but overall we were very successful," said 1st Lt. Lawrence Rowling, A/3-2nd ADA executive officer.
The temperamental Midwest weather also provided a challenge for the Soldiers.
"Cold weather does have ramifications on military equipment. We had to stay on top of that to make sure everything functioned correctly," said Rowling.
But after all was said and done, it was the Army's greatest asset that came through to make this training event a success.
"I knew we were going to make it. I knew we were going to do great. We knew all the crew drills. I work with great people so it's hard to fail," added Burgoon.
Article by Staff Sgt. Nathan Akridge, 31st Air Defense Artillery