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. |
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.