When people think of military units, most of the time their image is one out of Hollywood. Or news reports. Mostly they focus on a few soldiers or large units. Air Defense is usually talked about in terms of missiles or SAM sites. The public’s images of Patriot missiles is usually one of the launchers.
In reality we fight in groups of 50-90 soldiers called a battery or line battery.
In military organizations, an artillery battery is a unit of guns, mortars, rockets or missiles so grouped in order to facilitate better battlefield communication and command and control, as well as to provide dispersion for its constituent gunnery crews and their systems. source Wikipedia.
It is analogous to the company in infantry or armor. The commander is a Captain (O-3). His sergeant is a First Sergeant. The Captain runs the battery, he or she is responsible for the war fighting and management of our mission. The Frist Sergeant is responsible for our day-to-day training, discipline, and well-being. He or she is manager of soldiers.
Launcher: Where the missile are. Each of the six launchers has soldiers assigned to maintain it (a driver etc.). From this platoon a “Hot Crew” is assigned to maintain the launchers in the field. A Sergeant and a crew of 5-10 soldiers are on duty at all times to make sure the launchera are ready to fire. Soldiers here have the MOS 14T.
Fire Control: This platoon takes care of the radar. Without a radar, the missiles are useless. The Engagment Control Station is manned by soldiers from this platoon. From there missiels are aimed and fired. Soldiers here have the MOS 14E.
Headquarters/Maintenance: Here is a roundabout platoon. There are soldiers for NBC preparedness supply, cooks (MOS 92G, and 14E &14T soldiers who are assigned system maintenance duties.
All squads report to a sergeant. The system maintenance squad also reports to a pair of Warrant Officers. They are responsible for all maintenance in the battery. Between them and the maintenance squad, they keep the battery in the fight.
Last are the 14J’s These soldiers run the battery command post. They maintain the radios and computers the Captain uses to coordinate the unit. All reports are taken by them, they keep track of the battery status and inform the Captain when major changes take place.
External Link: FM 44-85
PATRIOT BATTALION AND BATTERY OPERATIONS at the Federation of American Scientists.
Patriot live fire in Crete: (U.S/NATO base)