News: 2nd Battalion, 18th Field Artillery Regiment, Bravo Battery equipment verification
Story by 1st Lt. David Niemczura
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait- As most us who have deployed know, a unit draws much equipment prior to being deployed. So when I tell you that the Batteries of 2nd Battalion, 18th Field Artillery (Fort Sill, Okla.) did, it would come as no surprise that they were anticipating this draw.
At the beginning of September 2012, our Batteries drew what we like to call rolling stock, equipment on wheels, from a nearby Camp in Kuwait. During that draw, our Bravo Battery drew a certain piece of equipment that is vital to a High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System Fires Battalion: the HIMARS Launcher!
Just as a child receives a gift at Christmas, the immediate instinct was to test it out and make sure that it works. On Sept. 9, that is exactly what the soldiers and officers of Bravo Battery did. When I asked Staff Sgt. Christopher Manookin, a launcher crew chief, about being the first to test the equipment, he said “This is our bread and butter! It is always nice to be the first out of the gate, bragging rights if you will.”
On that day, the Battery occupied a firing range and was able to test fire, or verify their launchers. On the morning of the verification, soldiers and officers worked tirelessly to ensure safe and accurate fires. As the morning turned into afternoon, the calculations were made and the fires were deemed safe to verify the launchers, which was aided by the Battery’s training (rehearsal) prior to the verification. First Lt. Scott Ardis, Battery Fire Direction officer, said “Rehearsal’s played a key role in making this verification successful.”
Two at a time, the launchers received their firing data from the Battery Fire Direction Center, moved to the firing position, and shot their rockets. Communication among all parties involved flowed smoothly. When I spoke to 1st Sgt. Kevin Vanliew, he told me that the verification was handled well by all parties and specifically “outstanding NCO mentorship” played a substantial part as to the success of the verification.
And as the smoke cleared, so did the verification. The HIMARS were successfully verified, the equipment is ready for use in Theater Operations.
This work, 2nd Battalion, 18th Field Artillery Regiment, Bravo Battery equipment verification, by 1LT David Niemczura, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.