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101st Airborne Division Artillery conducts Field Training Exercise

 

Written by Sgt. Steven Lopez
40th Public Affairs Detachment

Fort Campbell KY - 101st Airborne DivisionFort Campbell, KY – As the sun was setting and the blades of grass cut through the wind, soldiers secured a tactical perimeter while remaining vigilant of their surroundings for any enemy movement. Soldiers of 3-320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division Artillery, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), conducted a field training exercise May 1st through May 11th, 2018 on Fort Campbell.

The batteries within the battalion conducted Field Artillery Gunnery Table XV missions while conducting operations across multiple training areas and position areas for artillery, encountered 10 tactical injects which allowed leaders at all levels to understand the mission requirements of operating in a decisive action environment.

Soldiers of Bravo Battery, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division Artillery Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, fire a M119A3 Howitzer during the unit’s Table XV gunnery on Fort Campbell, Kentucky. (Sgt. Steven Lopez, 40th Public Affairs Detachment)

Soldiers of Bravo Battery, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division Artillery Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, fire a M119A3 Howitzer during the unit’s Table XV gunnery on Fort Campbell, Kentucky. (Sgt. Steven Lopez, 40th Public Affairs Detachment)

The purpose of this training exercise is to evaluate a batterys’ collective task proficiency on fire mission processing and battery defense. The intent is for batteries to provide timely and accurate fires, train on the execution of battery fire missions, conduct technical and tactical control and exercise digital systems.

The exercise started with Bravo Battery conducting various tactical drills which included, reacting to indirect fire, a convoy attack, an emergency fire mission, mass attack and reacting to probes. These battle drills enhance soldier performance by enabling units to prepare, react and counter attack while on the battlefield.

“The scenario is to have Infantry out there (in the battlefield) and for us to provide indirect fire support,” said Pfc. Aldaz Rigoberto, Bravo Battery, 3-320th FA Regt., 101st DIVARTY, 101st Abn. Div. “The whole battery works together on that firing point.”

The following week the remaining batteries followed suit through the training areas. As they conducted training, the battery’s sections utilized skills such as time management between Soldiers pulling security, eating and maintaining their equipment while in a field environment.

Staff Sgt. Ryan Wertenberger, Bravo Battery, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division Artillery Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, prepares his fire team to fire the M119A3 Howitzer 2 May during the unit’s Table XV gunnery at Fort Campbell, KY. (Sgt. Steven Lopez, 40th Public Affairs Detachment)

Staff Sgt. Ryan Wertenberger, Bravo Battery, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division Artillery Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, prepares his fire team to fire the M119A3 Howitzer 2 May during the unit’s Table XV gunnery at Fort Campbell, KY. (Sgt. Steven Lopez, 40th Public Affairs Detachment)

“We’re out here conducting Table XV which consists of a battery offense and defense, so it will be simulating an aggression to push back the enemy and then to take an objective,” said Staff Sgt. Travis Prater, Bravo Battery 3-320th FA Regt., 101st DIVARTY, 101st Abn. Div. “Once we reach that objective, we will then consolidate back into a battery defense to hold our positions and maintain whatever terrain we’ve captured.”

The unit made the training as realistic as possible, said Prater. They had opposing forces that did anything from small arms attacks, indirect fire, chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear attacks, complex ambushes and block ambushes.

During the day, the batteries also conducted base jumps as they received attacks then they proceeded to move to different training areas and set up base there, which continued throughout the night. Doing this allows the battery to remain hidden and also provides an opportunity for less experienced Soldiers to receive real time training and prepares them to perform optimally on the battlefield.

When the batteries received an attack, they moved rapidly to their firing and security positions to defend against and eliminate the enemy threat. This goes hand and hand with Soldiers being able to effectively and efficiently know their assigned weapons. Although the batteries are equipped with the Howitzers, the Soldiers are equipped with the M4 carbine, M240B machine gun, M249 light machine gun and M2A1 .50 caliber machine gun.

As a battery arrived to a new training area, they had a maximum of six minutes to set up their M119A3 Howitzers. Once the Howitzers were set in place, the battery gradually secured the area by digging firing positions, establishing communication with the tactical operations center and placing concertina wire around their perimeter.

Spc. Luis Rodriguez (bottom) and Pfc. Jacob Durbin, Bravo Battery, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division Artillery Brigade, 101st Airborne Division pull security during the unit’s Table XV gunnery 2 May at Fort Campbell, KY. (Sgt. Steven Lopez, 40th Public Affairs Detachment)

Spc. Luis Rodriguez (bottom) and Pfc. Jacob Durbin, Bravo Battery, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division Artillery Brigade, 101st Airborne Division pull security during the unit’s Table XV gunnery 2 May at Fort Campbell, KY. (Sgt. Steven Lopez, 40th Public Affairs Detachment)

First-aid was also a big key point during the exercise. When the batteries were attacked and suffered notional casualties, they were tended to by the medics attached to the batteries and Soldiers alike. This is essential to training as it improves the Soldiers reaction time when casualties are in play.

The roles that are played during these training events have proven valuable in building muscle memory and enhancing proficiency and effectiveness in a tactical environment for future deployments. As the Field Artillery Soldiers continue to train, it is clear that the sound of artillery remains a vital part of our Army.


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