News: ‘Warhorse’ qualifies artillerymen
Story by Staff Sgt. Ruth Pagan
FORT CARSON, Colo. – After two years as a mechanized unit, a battery of artillerymen on Fort Carson have returned to their roots and once again are sending rounds over the horizon.
The soldiers of Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, have been reassigned M109A6 Paladins, and took the last week in January to finish their qualification process, in preparation for an upcoming mission at the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, scheduled for mid February.
“For the battery, this is the culminating exercise, where (Col. Omar Jones IV, commander, 2 BCT) signs off and says; ‘Yes you are a capable firing battery, fully certified and capable to do all our firing missions,’” said 1st Lt. Travis Cyphers, 2nd platoon leader, Battery B, 3rd Bn., 16th FA Reg.
The qualifying process is important because it insures that the Paladins are calibrated right and that crew members can work cohesively together, said Sgt. 1st Class Glendon Sorrell, platoon sergeant, Battery B.
The qualifying process started at the lowest level: sections had 10 days in December to qualify, then the platoon had a week in early January to qualify together, and finally the battery as a whole had a week to qualify.
“This battalion hasn’t done field artillery for two years, so getting back into the process overall has been a very good exercise, and we’ve seen a lot of progress out there,” Cyphers said.
The qualifying process gave crew members time to become familiar and proficient with the equipment and each other.
“(All the training and qualifying missions we’ve performed together) shows we know what we are doing, that we are fast and efficient, and can get the mission done safely,” said Spc. Josh Maddox, gunner, Battery B.
It is important for the battery to be qualified because it shows they are mission ready.
“Fire support is a very important factor to the brigade, because maneuvering commanders know that the fire support they are receiving from 3-16 Field Artillery is accurate and timely, and that it’s going to be done safely,” Cyphers said.
The battery may be qualified but that doesn’t stop their continued training and development.
“Just because we are finishing (qualifications at battery level) doesn’t mean we stop training; we still have room for improvement,” said Sorrell. “These guys are highly motivated and love what they do.”