News: Stryker Brigade’s Mobile Gun System crews train for combat
Story by Sgt. Michael Blalack
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - The 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division’s Mobile Gun System platoons gathered at the Donnelly Training Area for MGS crew training and qualification Oct. 21-Nov. 8.
The M1128 Mobile Gun System is a variant of the Stryker Armored Personnel Carrier and retains the speed and maneuverability of that platform, but adds the devastating firepower of a 105mm cannon mounted on the turret, as well as a .50-caliber machine gun and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.
The purpose of the MGS is to support light ground forces, primarily in neutralizing enemy vehicles, equipment and fortified positions, as well as breaching or removing large obstacles, such as walls or other structures.
Staff Sgt. Ben Faczan, the brigade’s MGS master gunner, organized and oversaw the training.
“This is the first time we’ve fired the MGSs in DTA,” said Faczan, “and the first time the majority of these crews have done a live fire.”
The training consisted of each crew progressing through several scenarios, including both dry and live fires in situations involving a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear environment, simulated casualties and equipment malfunctions.
“This training has been awesome,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Guinn, a tanker from Company A, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment. “Not just because we’ve learned a lot, and been able to really practice our job, but because we get to hang out with other tankers, not infantry guys that don’t really know what we’re here for.”
Though the Stryker was designed and adopted for counter insurgency operations, it has capabilities that go beyond what it has typically been used for.
“During COIN operations there was this attitude that the MGS was there to guard the forward operating base,” said Faczan. “But it didn’t really roll around that much, and so, for the most part, has been underused.”
Although the MGS has heavier weaponry than other Stryker variants, it has the same light armor that gives the Stryker its speed and mobility.
“A common misconception is that the MGS is a tank,” said Staff Sgt. Scott Camp, an MGS platoon sergeant with 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment. “Yeah, it’s got the great big gun, but it has the same armor as any other Stryker.”
“The MGS is not designed to go head-to-head with heavy armor,” said 2nd Lt. Austin Buettgenbach, an MGS platoon leader for 3-21. “However, it has an incredibly wide variety of applications and can be used to support the infantry in much more kinetic, high-intensity conflict applications than it typically has been.”
“We have to get back to being good at direct action,” said Faczan, “because that could be the next fight.”