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    Master Gunners of 210th Field Artillery Run Best by Test Competition



    Story by Cpl. Kihyun Kwon 

    210th Field Artillery Brigade

    Camp Casey, South Korea -- The Best by Test is an annual event for the 210th Field Artillery Brigade run by master gunners. It is a series of tests conducted to distinguish the best crew regarding not only their military occupational specialties, but also their general Soldier knowledge.
    A master gunner is the senior advisor to a commander on all multiple launch rocket system crew members and ammunition tasks/information. In order to become master gunners, sergeants first class need to be selected by the commander as the most knowledgeable on all MLRS and MLRS capabilities. Then they go to a school and take a master gunner course.
    “Non-commissioned officers, including master gunners, have an abundance of responsibilities when training their soldiers, not only the standard military tasks but other MOS proficiencies,” said Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Starnes, the 210th FA Bde Master Gunner and a Dupont, Washington native assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 210th FA Bde, 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-US Combined Division. “They should not stop at establishing a baseline on their basic skillsets but push the Soldiers and start going into more difficult and sustained training.”
    The Best by Test competition was a great opportunity for the master gunners to fulfill these responsibilities as NCOs. The master gunners tried to teach and train every crew on every aspect of being a Soldier, not just focusing on recognizing the best ones among them.
    “In order to run the competition successfully and achieve these goals, we planned the programs by holding in-progress reviews with other master gunners,” said Starnes. “We worked as a group to come up with essential factors such as on which tasks they would evaluate, how the programs would be organized, how long the whole competition would take, and how to establish grading criterion.”
    The competition took place over three days. The first day consisted of the Army Physical Fitness Test and warrior tasks. For the warrior tasks, Soldiers had to complete six stations; a mystery event, assemble and dismantle a M240B, Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System operation, react to a Chemical Biological Radioactive Nuclear event, first aid and map reading station.
    The following day, Soldiers completed a 6-mile ruck march with 35-pound ruck sacks and conducted regular/CBRN/night fire qualification. They also took a written test on general Army knowledge and their specific MOS.
    On the last day they were divided into three groups within their MOS and were given tasks regarding their specific MOS. The tasks included fire mission processing, reload operations and field artillery occupation.
    "During the Warrior Tasks, many of the Soldiers have failed to clear, disassemble and assemble the weapon and conduct a function check within six minutes," said Sgt. 1st Class Richard Houser, a battalion master gunner assigned to 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th FA Bde, 2ID. "However, even when they fail, it is important that we fix their deficiencies and now they know how to properly do it."
    Therefore, the Best by Test competition helped Soldiers understand where their crews may be excelling and also where their shortfalls might be. It ultimately helped the crews become better for each section.
    “I think the Best by Test went overall extremely well,” said Starnes. “It showed that 210 is a well-trained unit on this peninsula which is ready to conduct their war time mission at any time, and it was also an extreme privilege to see these soldiers compete at a brigade level.”
    The Best by Test competition was held by 210th Field Artillery Brigade, February 13-15, at Camp Casey.
    "The goal of this program was to promote esprit de corps and a sense of competition," said Starnes. "Also, it is a tool our brigade can use to lift morale and recognize the Soldiers who give 100% in everything they do."
    On March 24, whichever crew that has the highest points total will be recognized in front of the Brigade as the winner crew. The winner crew will also be rewarded a guidon streamer that says ‘210th Field Artillery Brigade Best by Test 2017’.



    Date Taken: 03.22.2017
    Date Posted: 05.10.2017 21:31
    Story ID: 233389
    Location: DONGDUCHEON, 41, KR 
    Hometown: DUPONT, WA, US

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