Preparing for Patriots

Airmen of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing at a major base of Air Force operations in Southwest Asia are laying the groundwork for the arrival of a battery of the Army’s Patriot air defense system to bolster the base’s security. “It’s a mutually-beneficial relationship,” said Lt. Col. Shane Capaldi, chief of plans and programs for the 380th AEW. He added, “The Air Force gets the superior protection that only Patriot [missiles] can offer, while the Army is able to beddown on a premier tactical site at an established base.” More than 200 soldiers are expected from Ft. Bliss, Tex., to operate the battery, which consists of a deployable command element, radar, missile launchers, and power generators. The Patriot is designed to defeat aircraft as well as cruise missiles and theater-range ballistic missiles. Airmen are involved in tasks like preparing new dormitories, renovating other facilities, and working host-nation security and site-selection issues. (380th AEW report by TSgt. Denise Johnson)