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    Second unit in 82nd history wins coveted award

    Second unit in 82nd history wins coveted award

    Photo By Spc. Micah Clare | Airborne artillery men from Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 321st Airborne Field Artillery...... read more read more

    By Spc. Micah E. Clare
    4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division

    FORWARD OPERATING BASE SALERNO, Afghanistan- The dedication and commitment to excellence shown by one deployed unit paid off this year when they became the second 82nd Airborne Division artillery battery to win the Knox Award, given yearly to the "Army's best battery."

    The award, named after Revolutionary War hero, Maj. Gen. Henry Knox, the first Chief of Artillery for the U.S. Army, was awarded to Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 321st Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, last month in acknowledgment of their accomplishments leading up to, and during, their current deployment in southeastern Afghanistan.

    "From everything we've been through since our crunched, pre-deployment training timeline, to our results out here in the battlefield, we've been doing a lot of artillery functions a lot of batteries don't get to do," said Army 1st Lt. Christian Throckmorton, platoon leader for 4th Platoon. "We're actually doing the missions we've trained for, air assaults, calling for fire side-by-side with the infantry, and conducting many forward combat operations."

    In the year prior to their deployment, Btry. B participated in three major training events: one in Florida with Joint Special Operations Command, cadet training at West Point Military Academy in New York and a rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., explained Army Capt. Mike Garry, the battery commander.

    Shortly before deployment, they were asked to reorganize and change certification from the 105mm M119 howitzers to the larger 155mm M198 system, in anticipation for a changing mission in Afghanistan. When they arrived however, they were required to reorganize and recertify back to the M119s, Garry said.

    So far, while occupying an area of over 1,000 miles encompassing four different Afghan provinces, the battery has provided fire support to four major operations for 4th BCT's maneuver units: the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment and the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment.

    During these operations, Btry. B artillerymen fired over 3,000 105mm rounds and were responsible for a combined battle damage of over 100 enemy fighters.

    "We've had to establish a lot of trust with the line companies," said Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Funk, a 4th Platoon section chief. "They've really gotten used to how we operate and have even fought for us to come with them at one point, when they found out that an (unfamiliar artillery unit) would be supporting them."

    Providing reliable and consistent artillery support to maneuver units wasn't the only factor that went into the award nomination process though, said Garry.

    "Not only have these guys been doing their jobs, and done what was asked of them, but they always exceeded the standards set for them," he explained.

    Five members have been recommended for the Bronze Star and all members for the Combat Action Badge, he stated.

    "When standards are established, we're required to go above that," said Funk. "That attitude leaks over into everything we do. You can't be lazy when you're in the business of shooting rounds in close support of troops. Sometimes it's tedious, but to be as accurate as we need to be, attention to detail is absolutely necessary."

    Even though the battery was stood up less than a year before deploying, winning the award shows what motivated paratroopers can accomplish and they will be a model to all other 82nd artillerymen, said Garry.

    "Despite how new they are...Battery B has exemplified the terms agile, lethal and accurate," he said. "We're looking forward to providing the most timely and lethal fire support anywhere in Afghanistan throughout the rest of our time here."



    Date Taken: 01.28.2008
    Date Posted: 01.28.2008 16:53
    Story ID: 15859
    Location: KHOST, AF 

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