News: Molly Pitcher Day: The 82nd Airborne Division artillerymen continue tradition
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Hundreds of people gathered under camouflage netting at Sicily Drop Zone to witness live fire demonstrations of artillery and airborne operations. There was a special appearance by the Special Forces “Black Daggers” high altitude low opening parachute team, while civilians in attendance were afforded the opportunity to learn about the equipment and artillery systems on display and shoot blank ammunition with many military weapons.
The 2 Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, took part in Molly Pitcher Day held on Sicily Drop Zone on July 6.
Molly Pitcher Day is a day of celebration for the men and women assigned to the field artillery branch to honor Mary Hayes, an artilleryman’s wife from the Revolutionary War.
“This was my second Molly Pitcher Day, and this one had more live firing of artillery weapons which is always cool to see,” said Spc. Henry Rowlette, radio telephone operator for the Fire Directional Command, assigned to the B. Battery, 2-319th AFAR. “It was great to get the chance to learn more about the story of Molly Pitcher.”
“Molly Pitcher,” who’s real name was Mary Hayes, was like many wives during the Revolutionary War. Hayes was present on the battlefield to provide the soldiers with water during the fight. When the soldiers were thirsty they would yell “Molly, pitcher,” to have a drink brought to them. However, when her husband was injured, Hayes left her pitcher behind, took control of the cannon and continued firing at the British. She was later enlisted in the Army by George Washington because of her fearless actions. Hayes was one of the first women to perform Soldier duties during battle.
All the artillery units across Fort Bragg participated in the event. There were many displays of the many different artillery weapon systems used by the Army, including the M119A2 howitzer, M777 howitzer and M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).
The 2-319th AFAR “Black Falcons” conducted an air assault raid onto Sicily Drop Zone for one of the final demonstrations. Two M119A2 howitzers were sling loaded beneath two CH47 Chinooks helicopters. The paratroopers had to place the howitzers into operation and fire onto Coleman Impact Zone within 20 minutes from landing on the drop zone.
“We are very proud to be a part of the 82nd’s Molly Pitcher Day,” said 1st Sgt. Bradley Knapp, senior enlisted adviser for 2-319th AFAR. He described how rare it is for different artillery units to have an opportunity to work together, unless it is for Molly Pitcher Day.
“This was very educational,” said Nicole Anderson, wife of Staff Sgt. Cody Anderson, section sergeant assigned to B. Battery, 2-319th AFAR. She was very excited to see the demonstration of the artillery live fires. “The best live fire demonstration was the HIMARS. The rockets were very impressive.”
“This is a long standing tradition were families and their guest get an opportunity to see their paratrooper in action, and share in a piece of field artillery history. It allows families from different units the chance to meet one another,” said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Pettaway, fires and effects coordination cell sergeant, assigned to Headquarters Company, 2BCT.
Date Posted:07.12.2012 16:06
Location:FORT BRAGG, NC, US
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