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MINHAD AB, UAE – The choking dust and blazing sun of the Persian Gulf didn’t bother the formation of soldiers inside the climate-controlled hanger as 11th ADA ‘Imperial’ Brigade Commander Col. Joel Valiant presented Bravo Battery, 2-43 ADA Regiment with the prestigious Meritorious Unit Fire Discipline Citation for not firing on their own aircraft for an entire year.

“This is a momentous day in the history of the Imperial Brigade,” Valiant intoned to the battery during his prepared remarks. “Not one 2nd Lieutenant anxious to win a Bronze Star or Warrant Officer coming off of a 48-hour alcohol-fueled bender in your battery succumbed to the temptation of pushing the red button to fire multiple Patriot missiles at American or Coalition airframes for over 365 days.”

Valiant went on to commend Bravo Battery for their conspicuous bravery and resiliency in the face of their difficult year long deployment in the hostile conditions of the United Arab Emirates.

“Now let me be perfectly clear,” Valiant continued, “I’m damn proud of the way that you’ve all handled the daily bus rides through the hot desert between your Air Force hotel lodging and your air conditioned engagement site, and that your living conditions that would make real infantrymen wish they were in Afghanistan! But not our stalwart Imperial Air Defenders! Can I get a hooah?”

Col. Valiant also took to the opportunity to speak of why this award reflects the changing nature of the Air Defense branch of the Army.

“Why, back in my day during OIF 1, we had this one female lieutenant get so excited with a blip on her screen that she fired off and blasted some Limey pilot out of his Tornado. Naturally, she was immediately given a Silver Star and promoted to Captain for being the first ADA officer to actually do something since Vietnam, but that was back in 2003. After the subsequent rash of copycat attacks, the Air Force started getting on our ass about ‘fratricide’.”

Valiant spat a stream of tobacco juice on the floor as emphasis. “I told those fairy pukes that if it flies it dies! Can I get a damn hooah?”

The battery obligingly gave the colonel a hooah.

The Meritorious Unit Fire Discipline Citation was originally created by the War Department during the second World War to reward Air Defense Artillerymen for holding their fire until they could actually identify whether or not the aircraft flying overhead were Allied or Axis. The citation was resurrected by the Army as part of a holistic attempt to stop Patriot officers from impulsively punching the ‘engage’ button as soon as a radar contact was seen on screen.

“I’m damn proud of your self-discipline,” the brigade commander said in his closing remarks. “If we keep this up, DoD might actually let us start loading live missiles back into our Patriot launchers.”