News: 147th Field Artillery conducts live-fire operation in Wyo.
Story by Staff Sgt. Charles Butler
CAMP GUERNSEY, Wyo. — “Shot out!” called the fire direction control of the 1st Battalion, 147th Field Artillery, South Dakota Army National Guard, during a live-fire operation for their field artillery certification using the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) on Saturday, June 15 at Camp Guernsey.
The battalion started their field artillery certification process in February, which began with written safety tests, rehearsals of safety measures on different situations, and setting codes in the launchers’ computer systems. 1-147th soldiers put these certifications to the test with this live-fire mission as part of their annual training.
The 1-147th consists of two firing batteries; Alpha Battery from Aberdeen and Bravo Battery from Yankton. The two batteries are supported by the Forward Support Company (FSC) of Mitchell, Sioux Falls and Webster, which provides maintenance and logistical support and the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery (HHB) of Watertown, which provides the staff for command and control and support operations.
The battalion completed their artillery certification last year for the first time since 2008, said Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Rose, the battalion command sergeant major, of Watertown. The unit took their time last year with the certification process, which proved successful, but with this year’s certification Soldiers were more comfortable in their roles and with the equipment, and it was clear the unit was getting more in depth with the training.
Soldiers were not just focusing on the live-fire mission, but also looking at how to position the MLRS in better fighting positions and using different techniques of improving the speed at which the unit could deploy its arsenal on enemy targets.
“The batteries could not conduct this mission without the tireless efforts of the FSC maintenance crews and the fuelers that keep the battalions equipment operational,” said Rose. “Along with the FSC, our HHB staff officers and noncommissioned officers did an outstanding job ensuring that this year’s annual training ran smoothly and successfully.”
The batteries of the 1-147th conduct live-fire operations as if they were in a combat situation. The battalion headquarters sends down a mission to the batteries, where the fire direction control assigns the orders for the fire mission to the batteries’ firing sections, said Staff Sgt. Tanner Haines, a section chief from Plankinton.
“Each year we add new pieces to the puzzle. We continue to improve on what we did the year before,” said Haines. “Our guys really put in a lot of effort out here and it showed with everything running smoothly.”
Each launcher section consists of a crew chief, gunner and driver; with four sections to a platoon and two platoons to a battery, which makes 16 launchers for the battalion. The 1-147th certified 15 of their 16 sections at the live fire event, where each section was able to fire off four, live rockets for three different mission scenarios.
The first mission is ‘fire when ready,’ where the section is given the mission and can fire when they have checked all safety measures and set the codes. The next is ‘time on target,’ where the launchers are given a fire mission with a set time the rockets are to be fired. The final mission is ‘at my command,’ where the launchers set the mission codes and wait to launch until given the order to fire.
“This was one of the smoothest live fires I’ve been a part of,” said 1st Lt. Darrin Eichacker, of Salem, commander of Bravo Battery. “I am proud of all the soldiers, they did a great job and all the support we got from the other units really made this a great training exercise.”
Date Posted:06.22.2013 09:14
Location:CAMP GUERNSEY, WY, US
Hometown:MITCHELL, SD, US
Hometown:RAPID CITY, SD, US
Hometown:SALEM, SD, US
Hometown:SIOUX FALLS, SD, US
Hometown:WATERTOWN, SD, US
Hometown:WEBSTER, SD, US