14 May 2012
The Air Defense Artillery Regiment: A Brief History
From its early beginnings as the Anti-Aircraft Artillery (AAA), the Army Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Regiment has been at the ready and waiting to protect and defend our airspace. According to Brigadier General Roger F. Mathews, this protection is against:
an ever increasing variety of irregular and asymmetric threats, including ballistic missiles capable of early submunitions release and sophisticated end-game maneuvers, advanced cruise missiles that can jam, spoof or navigate around defenses, unmanned aerial systems that can coordinate enemy fire in mere seconds and rockets, artillery and mortars that threaten even the most secure bases (1).
The history of the ADA is one of trials, and one of triumph. This paper examines the evolution of the ADA, including its role in the Vietnam War, and how it continues to study, train and prepare in order to maintain its role in the Army’s mission.
From its inception, the ADA has seen its fair share of battles. In the beginning, three men were sent to France to form an anti-aircraft artillery (AAA). Before long, the men had shown their worth (Stiller 26). As Stiller says, “With no properly trained men, no tactics and no weapons, the AAA service, from its beginning, quickly grew and accomplished more with less” (26). Even at such a distinct disadvantage, the AAA used 1/20th of the ammunition used by the British to shoot down each German plane (Stiller 26). ADA’s motto, “First to Fire”, was also coined during this time when the chief of the Coast Artillery Corps (CAC) said, “In any future war of magnitude AAA will probably be the first artillery to be brought into action” (Stiller 26). The AAA’s spur of the moment creation means that most of the U.S.’s anti-aircraft success was achieved using weapons borrowed from France.
Despite the success of the AAA during WWI, when the war was over the…