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Posted: September 15, 2017 12:54 p.m.
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3rd ID teams with NG

Photo by Master Sgt. Sheryl L. Lawry /

Task-Force Barrage provided a training demonstration of the Land-Based Phalanx Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar weapon system. The C-RAM fires a 20mm high explosive, self-destruct round. The self-destruct feature of the round is a preventive measure to ensure that no static structures or people are injured in the fallout.

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BAGRAM AIRFIELD, AFGHANISTAN -- Members of Ohio National Guard’s Task-Force Barrage, Team Vulcan, are keeping Bagram Airfield safe and sound, and saving lives by staying mission focused and highly skilled at manning their Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM) weapon systems.  

They displayed their skills of speed and precision recently when an insurgent fired an indirect round at the compound and within seconds it was neutralized.  And neutralizing a threat is no quiet matter.  A C-RAM fires a 20mm high explosive, self-destruct round that simply put is chest rattling loud and startling if unexpected.    

“This is my third deployment to Afghanistan, second time actually positioned on BAF.  You get used to the noise from the flight line, but not the IDF (indirect fire) impact or C-RAM interceptions,” said Master Sgt. Nichole Peters, the USFOR-A and 3rd Infantry Division Chaplain’s assistant about a recent IDF that was intercepted by the Soldiers of TF Barrage.  “My heart was beating fast and the first thing I thought about was my soon to be 16 year old daughter.  I immediately started praying that no one was injured and no more IDF would follow.” 

No one was injured and no IDF followed, but had there been an addition IDF, the well trained Soldiers of TF-Barrage would have removed that threat, again, within seconds.

“We were at Fort Sill for three months learning and training on the system,” said Capt. David Muehling, the unit commander. “We conducted 250 IDF training engagements building on our skills and muscle memory. Most of the people here are new to the system, but you train as you fight.  When you put the pieces together so that everyone understands everyone’s role, we are able to accomplish the mission.”

Originally, a US Navy weapons system, the Army starting using the capability on land in Iraq back in 2006.  The system’s success there led the US government to add the Land-Based Phalanx C-RAM system in Afghanistan in 2013. Since then the Army National Guard and Active components have shared the role of air defense for Bagram, splitting rotations two for one.  

To ensure the skills they learned at Fort Sill remain sharp and the Soldiers stay focused, they train and preform maintenance on the weapons system daily.  “We have to make sure the guns are up at all times, said Lt. Nicholas Hunter, TF-Barrage, Team Vulcan’s Executive Officer.  “We have troops up 24/7 to ensure the weapons are always operational.”

Daily maintenance and training and precision muscle memory skills all contributes to the big picture of keeping Bagram Airfield safe.  Like a well oil machine, Soldiers and Civilian at Bagram can trust TF-Barrage’s process of watching the sky, identifying a possible threat, informing the Emergency Operation Center, confirming if the threat as real - and if it is - engaging and neutralizing it… all within 4 to 5 seconds. 

“It [TF-Barrage, Team Vulcan] is truly a team of teams,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Hendrex, USFOR-A and 3rd Infantry Division Command Sgt. Maj.  “It's an Army National Guard unit, using a weapons system designed for the Navy to protect the service members and our air assets stationed at Bagram Air Base.  It highlights the total Army Integration concept and our impressive young service members’ ability to accomplish a critically important mission.”

And it’s a mission the Soldiers of TF-Barrage fully understand and are proud to serve.     


“This is the most cohesive unit I’ve ever seen. The Soldiers know they’re here for a purpose,” said 1st Sgt. Joshua Abel, 1st Sgt. of Team Vulcan. “They allow everyone here on Bagram to be able to sleep soundly at night.  Their support role make everyone safe and have a place to comeback to.” 

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