Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeffry M. Howerton49th Wing Public AffairsTech. Sgt. Attila Csipes from Holloman Air Force Base speak with the pilots aboard a C-130 from Little Rock Air Force Base for Exercise Vigilant Shield. The airfield at White Sands Missile Range does not have a control tower so any communication to the aircrew needs to be done from the ground. The exercise tests the short notice and deployment capabilities of Airmen and Soldiers in case of a real world emergency in the homeland.
A 10-day rapid deployment exercise designed to test the Army's capacity to protect critical defense facilities kicked off here today with the arrival of Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division based at Fort Drum, N.Y., and Air Force cargo planes from Texas and Arkansas.
Called Vigilant Shield 2018, U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command plan the annual exercise and training event.Vigilant Shield simulates a rapid deployment mission where Soldiers are called upon to protect a critical infrastructure facility somewhere in the United States. Soldiers from the Division's Company C, 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry, flew to Fort Bliss this morning and then traveled to WSMR. As part of the exercise, they will work alongside WSMR's resident guard force.
In the coming days, local residents can expect to see increased traffic along the roads around WSMR's main post as well as some range areas off of U.S. Highway 70 near the Owen Road entrance gate. The increased activity may also include the use of blank ammunition as exercise scenarios play out.This may result in increased noise during daylight hours.
Though the exercise will run through Nov. 9, most of the activity near U.S. 70 will end by Friday of this week.