News: ‘Dreadnaughts’ mortarmen launch into M120 training
Story by Sgt. Kerry Lawson
FORT RILEY, Kan. - Soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division conducted a live-fire exercise with their M120 mortar system from July 29-31 at Fort Riley.
“This training exercise was to register our 'guns' as we do with our M4s,” said Sgt. Anthony Gromley, squad leader, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment. “We need to ensure that our mortars fire straight and true now, so that there is less of a chance of a mistake later.”
On the first day of the exercise, the teams concentrated on crew drills, which build precision, speed and team work.
During the second day, the mortarmen fired high-explosive, illumination and full-range training rounds from the dismounted positions with the mortar system.
The crews practiced firing a direct lay mission, which is when they fire without using the fire direction center, and the mortars are given a point they can see to shoot the targets.
“This is very exciting because the direct lay mission is the only time you get to see what you are shooting at,” said 1st Lt. William Osilaja, mortar platoon leader, HHC, 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment.
The final day of the exercise, the mortar men cleaned and turned in their equipment, and departed the field.
The goal is to shoot once a quarter and to work on crew drills every other quarter, Osilaja said.
“The unit had previously conducted dry-fire and live-fire exercises from late spring to early summer,” Osilaja said. “This included the two-week-long, battalion-level situational training exercise in May. Last week, the teams completed their written exams. Staying fresh and proficient with our skills as mortar men will enable us to be ready when the unit deploys next year.”