USA — Mortarmen in Afghanistan train with new round, become more lethal

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.

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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.”

Source:
U.S. Army