USA — Black Jack artillerymen ’stay on target’

FORT HOOD, Texas — Four can­nons point to the sky, fire in sequence and smoke fills the air. Then, the bar­rels low­er into a 45-degree angle as they pre­pare to fire again.

An M109A6 Paladin fires a 155 mm round at its target more than 5,000 meters away during the 3rd Bn., 82nd FA Regt.'s Paladin live-fire exercise at a range on Fort Hood, Sept. 22.
An M109A6 Pal­adin fires a 155 mm round at its tar­get more than 5,000 meters away dur­ing the 3rd Bn., 82nd FA Regt.’s Pal­adin live-fire exer­cise at a range on Fort Hood, Sept. 22.
Pho­to Cred­it: Sgt Quentin John­son, 2nd BCT PAO, 1st Cav. Div..

The sce­nario depicts artillery­men from Bat­tery B, 3rd Bat­tal­ion, 82nd Field Artillery Reg­i­ment, 2nd Brigade Com­bat Team, 1st Cav­al­ry Divi­sion, fine-tun­ing their skills dur­ing the M109A6 Pal­adin live-fire exer­cise at a local range Sept. 22, 2010. 

The exer­cise was the first live fire for Btry. B this year and a chance for them to qual­i­fy as a sec­tion in the unit’s gun­nery, said Capt. Jason Har­vey, com­man­der for Btry. B, 3rd Bn., 82nd FA Regt. 

The suc­cess of the exer­cise came from the coop­er­a­tion of the fire con­trol point, which relays all mis­sion analy­sis, and the pal­adins or ‘gun line.’ 

Mis­sion analy­sis such as oper­a­tion orders and mete­o­ro­log­i­cal input are impor­tant when per­form­ing live-fire exer­cis­es, said 2nd Lt. Ross Cargile, the fire direc­tion offi­cer for Btry. B, 3rd Bn., 82nd FA Regt. 

“We work very close­ly with the gun line,” said Cargile. “We oper­ate as a pla­toon ele­ment even though the fire direc­tion cen­ter sec­tion has a sep­a­rate responsibility.” 

Accord­ing to Har­vey their gun­nery is bro­ken up into 18 Tables, with this crew-lev­el, live-fire exer­cise being the sixth. 

Crew-lev­el work is some­thing these artillery­men do every day but it does­n’t take the place of the expe­ri­ence you gain from a live-fire exer­cise, said Sgt. Richard Gray, a can­non crewmem­ber for Btry. B, 3rd Bn., 82nd FA Regt. 

“[The exer­cise] keeps us up-to-date on all the new stan­dards,” said Gray. 

Those stan­dards, cou­pled with vast resources and prop­er plan­ning, ensures a bal­ance between the battery’s maneu­ver and artillery capa­bil­i­ties, said Lt. Col. Nate Cook, com­man­der of the 3rd Bn., 82nd FA Regt. 

Those capa­bil­i­ties make them the great fight­ing force they are, said Harvey. 

“We are a proud bunch of guys. We are the King of Bat­tle,” he added. 

US Army 

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