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Nine Soldiers graduate ICBM defense course

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Nine 100th Missile Defense Brigade Soldiers representing the Alaska, California and Colorado National Guard, respectively, were honored during a Dec. 5, 2017, ceremony at 100th MDB Headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., to recognize their graduation from the Ground-based Midcourse Defense Fire Control Operator Qualification Course. (U.S. Army photo by Capt. Jennifer Beyrle)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Nine 100th Missile Defense Brigade Soldiers representing the Alaska, California and Colorado National Guard, respectively, were honored during a Dec. 5, 2017, ceremony at 100th MDB Headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., to recognize their graduation from the Ground-based Midcourse Defense Fire Control Operator Qualification Course. (U.S. Army photo by Capt. Jennifer Beyrle)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Nine additional U.S. Army Soldiers are now qualified to operate the only system in the Department of Defense designed to defend the United States against intercontinental ballistic missile attack.

The 100th Missile Defense Brigade hosted a ceremony Dec. 5 at brigade headquarters in Colorado Springs to recognize the Soldiers’ achievement in graduating the Ground-based Midcourse Defense Fire Control Operator Qualification Course.

This rigorous seven-week course teaches Soldiers how to defend the homeland from incoming intercontinental ballistic missile attack. The program is led by instructors from the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command's Directorate of Training and Doctrine developed according to U.S. Army Training and Doctrine standard.

Collectively, the students of GQC class 18-001 achieved a 97.25 percent average.

“It’s a challenging course, 90 percent is the requirement,” said Brig. Gen. Timothy Lawson, USASMDC/ARSTRAT deputy commanding general of operations, “There’s a reason we do that. It’s because we need to count on you to do your job and do it well.”

Students learn the components and capabilities of the GMD weapon system, which encompasses an array of sensors and is often referred to as a “system of systems.”

They also learn how to operate the system by practicing in a lab designed to replicate the nodes they will work in and how the computer allocates ground-based interceptors to conduct an intercept in the midcourse phase of an enemy attack. The students are required to brief instructors and classmates on threat engagements, to include predictive analysis of weapon system performance.

The 100th Missile Defense Brigade, which is a multi-component brigade consisting of active-component U.S. Army and U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers in Colorado, California and Alaska, is the only military unit with a 24/7/365 mission of defending the homeland from ICBM attacks with ground-based interceptors.

The students, who ranged in rank from sergeant to major, representing both the active duty and National Guard, will be assigned to the 100th Missile Defense Brigade and operate at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado; the 49th Missile Defense Battalion at Fort Greely, Alaska; or Detachment 1 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

Lawson, who served as commander of the 100thMissile Defense Brigade, defined the vital role these Soldiers will assume.

“Kim Jung Un has launched more than 90 ballistic missiles since assuming power six years ago,” said Lawson. “The threat is significant, which makes your job that much more important. There are a lot of people out there counting on you to do your job and do it well.”

The unofficial motto of the 100th Missile Defense Brigade is “The 300 (Soldiers) defending 300 million (Americans),” and Lawson charged each Soldier to take their role seriously.

“We’re the only ICBM defense organization for this country,” said Lawson. “You are it. You are absolutely it. When you put on that uniform and that 100th Missile Defense Brigade patch every day, you should take pride in it.”

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui