Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Or login with Facebook

    18th Field Artillery executes Operation Steel Machete to improve readiness

    18th Field Artillery Brigade Operation Steel Machete

    Photo By Sgt. Benjamin Parsons | FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Soldiers from Bravo Battery, 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Benjamin Parsons 

    18th Field Artillery Brigade

    FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The silence of the early Tuesday morning hours of March 14 was shattered by the roaring launch of rockets across the Sicily and Holland Drop Zones, courtesy of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System crews of the 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment.

    “Operation Steel Machete was designed to conduct a battalion live-fire qualification at night, which is a major live-fire training milestone,” said Col. John Rafferty, the 18th Field Artillery Brigade commander. “The second objective was to conduct external evaluations of the brigade, particularly the 188th Brigade Support Battalion and 3-27 FAR.”

    “The conditions for the live fire qualification were pretty challenging,” continued Rafferty. “At 28 degrees, sideways rain, and low illumination at 5 o’clock in the morning, it was very impressive and a tribute to the toughness and proficiency of our Soldiers to execute that under those conditions. Then the Soldiers moving into sustained operations for the next 96 to 120 hours was an impressive thing to see. It validates to me that our Soldiers are focused on getting a little bit more ready every day.”

    A highlight of the week-long exercise was the presence of Soldiers of the 138th Field Artillery Brigade, Kentucky Army National Guard, the brigade’s total force partner, who visited Fort Bragg to evaluate the execution of the brigade’s mission essential tasks.

    Capt. Jason Simpson is in his fifteenth year of service with the National Guard. He was the officer-in-charge for the artillery and fire support who evaluated the brigade.

    “We saw a lot of similarities on how we both operate,” said Simpson. “Our ultimate goal was to evaluate them and then have the brigade come out later to evaluate us. We really expect a high level performance and so far that’s what we’ve seen.”

    Rafferty was pleased with the 138th Field Artillery Brigade’s assessment of the brigade.

    “The external evaluations were a big success story for us, by getting the 138th Field Artillery Brigade here to provide an assessment,” said Rafferty. “I think the team that they sent were very proficient, extremely professional, and so we were lucky to have them.”“They provided an expert evaluation based on performance measures for each of the collective tasks,” continued Rafferty. “Their feedback was excellent in terms of the technical and tactical proficiency of the unit. It was a very detailed evaluation and very valuable.”

    The 82nd Airborne Division Artillery and the 528th Special Operations Support Brigade also evaluated mission command operations. The 44th Medical Brigade, 20th Engineer Brigade, and 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command provided support of the operation as well. A UH-60 Blackhawk crew from 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment, Colorado Army National Guard, participated in a HIMARS ammunition slingload exercise.

    According to Rafferty, external organization’s assistance has improved the brigade’s overall readiness.

    “One of the big takeaways for me was that as a multifunctional brigade, we are reliant on the 3rd ESC, 44th MED, and 20th Engineers," said Rafferty. I’m reminded of a quote by Brig. Gen. Sharpston, ‘Quit trying to do it all yourself, you can’t.’ One of the big lessons for me is our teammates have an incredible capabilities and we need to rely on and train with them to enhance our own readiness.”



    Date Taken: 04.13.2017
    Date Posted: 04.21.2017 17:13
    Story ID: 231193
    Location: FORT BRAGG, NC, US 

    Web Views: 446
    Downloads: 0
    Podcast Hits: 0