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    It's a Bird, It's a Plane, No, it's the King of Battle

    Assembling a Howitzer

    Photo By Sgt. Marcus Floyd | Soldiers with the 4th Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 173rd...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Marcus Floyd 

    7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    DRAWSKO POMORSKIE TRAINING AREA, Poland — The 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team airdropped the king of battle June 15, 2015 at the Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area in Poland during Saber Strike 15.

    During the airborne mission, Soldiers ejected two M119 105mm towed howitzers from the back of a Boeing C-17.

    Following the howitzers, the soldiers jumped, falling at a speed of 15 feet per second with the parachute deployed. Upon reaching the ground, the Soldiers had one objective on their minds.

    “Get to the platform, that's all they have to think about until they get there,” said Capt. Luke Hudspeth, a field artillery officer with the 4th Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. “Bag your chute and get to the platform as fast as possible. That's the key to success for a [drop zone] mission.”

    From the moment the last Soldier touches the ground after the jump, the unit has 30 minutes to properly set up the howitzer in order to meet the Army standard.

    However, with so many moving pieces operating at one time, a lot of preparation must take place beforehand to accomplish a successful airdrop mission.

    For example, before the Soldiers can jump, a team on the ground uses an anemometer to measure the wind speed. If the wind is moving faster than 13 knots, the unit cannot jump.

    “There's drop zone surveys, there's coordination with the host nation country, coordination with the host nation units and the other partner units that are conducting this training, and then there's getting all the personnel and equipment out here to sustain this unit,” said Capt. Jameson Moore, a field artillery officer with 4th Bn., 319th AFAR, 173rd ABCT. “Getting [the Soldier] food, getting him water, and getting him ammunition is one of the most important things we do in terms of preparation.”

    However, organizing such an intricate mission isn't without its challenges, particularly when trying to overcome the language barrier.

    “It's always frustrating because something always gets lost in translation,” Moore said. “But, the great thing about having partners like we do is everybody really wants to work together. They'll bend over backwards to help you out, and I hope their impression of us is we bend over backwards for them.”

    As the only airborne unit in Poland during Saber Strike, the 173rd is hoping to teach their multinational partners the benefits of light infantry.

    In a combat situation, if an allied unit needed support, the 173rd could react quickly and provide general support by reinforcing artillery.

    “Some of our partners are still on mass formation tactics and we don't do that. We're a very small force and very precise,” Moore said. “Being able to integrate that is a teaching point for everybody. I think it shows our partners that flexibility is good.”

    Saber Strike 15 is a long-standing U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative training exercise. This year’s exercise takes place across Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, and is designed to improve joint operational capability in a range of missions as well as preparing the participating nations and units to support multinational contingency operations. There are more than 6,000 participants from 13 different nations.



    Date Taken: 06.15.2015
    Date Posted: 06.15.2015 14:16
    Story ID: 166671

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