COUNTY NEWS RELEASE
The U.S. Army Patriot Battalion “Team Deuce,” stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, will conduct a series of Patriot air and missile defense system exercises in Los Alamos County. Arriving on Thursday, Feb. 17, at 5 a.m., the entourage of approximately 40 vehicles and 70 soldiers will set up camp at the Airport and the open space adjacent to the North Mesa soccer fields, commonly known as “FEMA-ville.” Exercises are expected to continue until Thursday, Feb. 24. No live weapons or ammunition will be on site.
Los Alamos was chosen by the 5th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment for its unique terrain and geographic features. The Battalion will specifically test the Patriot battery, including a radar set, engagement control station, power generation, antenna mast group, and several launcher stations as part of “Operation HARD DAY’S NIGHT.”
During the operation, North Mesa Park Rd at San Ildefonso to North Mesa Rd. will be closed, temporarily shutting down the Los Alamos Dog Park and Tennis Courts in this area. Kwage Mesa Trail can be accessed using North Mesa Rd. through the horse stable area, and then south by the Brewer Arena to connect back up with North Mesa Park Rd. As there will be no live ammunition, noise from the Battalion will be primarily from generators.
The U.S. Army Patriot Battalion will host a community day event at the North Mesa site on Saturday, Feb. 19. The Regiment will provide a walk-through tour of the equipment and demonstrate missile reloads.
“We are honored that the 5th Battalion selected Los Alamos as the location for Team Deuce to conduct these important exercises,” stated County Manager Steven Lynne. “I know that they will receive a warm welcome from our community.”
First utilized in the 1980s, the U.S. Patriot system has been consistently deployed to protect U.S. forces and assets in nearly every significant miliary action since. While initially designed as an antiaircraft system, newer variants of Patriot are capable of engaging ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and aircraft. Additionally, over 15 countries around the world currently operate Patriot.