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    1st Brigade, 215th Corps soldiers end artillery course with a bang



    Story by Sgt. Lucas Hopkins 

    Resolute Support Headquarters

    More than 25 Afghan National Army soldiers with 1st Brigade, 215th Corps concluded an artillery training course with a live-fire exercise at Camp Shorabak, Afghanistan, Dec. 5, 2017.

    The eight-week evolution brought together soldiers from the brigade’s artillery battery to provide formalized training on the ANA’s primary ground fire support weapon, the 122mm howitzer D-30, and the associated tasks concerning proper artillery fire. U.S. Marine advisors with Task Force Southwest led the course in order to help bring this crucial battlefield capability to their Afghan partners.

    The first two weeks of the course were spent teaching the group communications and map reading skills, allowing for the different sections of an artillery crew to communicate long distances during missions and accurately plot targets, respectively. Following instruction in the basics, the advisors separated the soldiers into their different sections, which include D-30 crewmen, forward observers and the fire direction center. All three work together to provide effective fire support for ground forces.

    “Using the batteries within the brigades gives the 215th Corps and more responsive fire support capability,” said U.S. Marine Capt. Bradford Parr, an artillery advisor with the Task Force. “They don’t have to worry about the time it takes for air support assets to arrive and can respond quicker to threats.”

    Close air support has proven key to the Afghan National Defense and Security Force’s ability to clear Taliban compounds and other enemy locations in Helmand province. The integration of artillery will only further assist ground units as they thwart Taliban presence during combat operations.

    “We call artillery ‘the king of battle,’” said ANA 2nd Lt. Fazul Rahman, an artillery platoon commander with 4th Kandak, 1st Brigade. “Our infantry soldiers are always expecting us to support them. We can hit targets from up to 15 kilometers away, and with this, we can provide good support for them.”

    “If we can suppress targets for the infantry as they close with, they can engage the enemy at a closer distance,” said Parr.

    The live-fire exercise culminated the artillery course, and required the soldiers to use their individual skills as D-30 crewmen, forward observers and fire direction center team members to work as one during a real-world combat situation.

    “With effective suppression, the ground forces have more freedom of movement,” said Parr. “I think it’ll help the brigade to shape the battlefield against the Taliban, because they can plan targets in conjunction with the maneuver plan, allowing their forces to move closer to an objective before they are engaged.”

    By implementing this critical capability, ANDSF will continue to shape the fight against the Taliban to their advantage.

    “I believe in my soldiers. We’ve gotten our training and we are proficient now in artillery,” said Raman. “It doesn’t matter when or where, we can defeat the enemy on the battlefield.”



    Date Taken: 12.06.2017
    Date Posted: 12.06.2017 04:03
    Story ID: 257609
    Location: CAMP SHORABAK, AF 

    Web Views: 160
    Downloads: 0