KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — American Soldiers conducted a live-fire exercise, May 27, at Combat Outpost Terra Nova, using the new 120mm Precision Guided Round, or PGR.
|Pfc. Zachery C. Okerson, who serves as an assistant gunner with Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, covers his ears after firing the new 120mm Precision Guided Round during a training exercise at Forward Operating Base Terra Nova, Afghanistan, May 27, 2012.
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It was mortarmen with Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, who tried out the new weapon. The new round equips the mortarmen with a unique capability that can deliver more accurate fires support for their fellow Soldiers.
“The new round is a lot better than a conventional round,” said Staff Sgt. Ryan Brown, who serves as a mortar section sergeant with A Co. “It is more precise and allows us to fire one round instead of the 10-to-15 it used to take us to do the same job.”
The mortarmen first began training with the new PGR at their home station, Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Wash.
Although their training for the new round began back at home, training with the round while deployed proved to be very important in ensuring the section’s ability to use the weapon.
“The training today was outstanding,” said Pvt. Joshua Bakerink, who serves as a gunner. “It taught us a lot and really made us more proficient at our job.”
Ensuring the mortarmen of A Co. are well trained in their abilities is one of the key reasons training like this takes place.
“The Army changes all the time and we have to keep up with the new stuff,” said Brown. “With more training, the faster you get and the more accurate you are. It is important to train even when we are deployed so we can make sure we are as effective as possible.”
This training has allowed the mortarmen to build not only their technical skills, but their confidence as well.
“Training like this downrange helps give me more confidence and better prepares me to do my job,” said Bakerink. “I feel a lot more lethal on the battlefield with this new mortar-guided system.”