News: Iron Thunder Strikes Fear
Story by Sgt. Vincent Byrd
WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. – The soldiers of the 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, conducted an air artillery raid in order to provide indirect fire support to suppress and neutralize enemy forces during the Network Integration Evaluation 13.1, Oct. 31.
The raid consisted of four sections with each section firing an M777 Howitzer.
The mission began with two UH-60 Blackhawks arriving to pick up the advance party, then returning to the pick up zone while waiting for four CH-43 Chinooks to sling load the artillery pieces, where each howitzer was inspected by a master sling loader.
The Chinooks landed amid a whirlwind of dust, providing cover while the sections dismounted and began occupation drills.
“This training gives the soldiers a feel of real-world combat situations and a better view of tactical operations,” said Pfc. Charles Bonner, a field artillery automated tactical data system specialist and Richmond, Va., native in Battery B, 4-27 FA.
The M777 is normally operated by a crew of eight soldiers but can be operated with a reduced detachment of five. The system is fitted with a digital fire control system, which is verbal-command free.
Before using the digital system, however, soldiers are trained on the ‘degraded’ system.
The degraded system is much more difficult to shoot accurately and precisely, said Sgt. Sam Montie, a team chief in Battery B, 4-27 FA. The degraded system is a complex it a mixture of fire commands and movements and is the standard system that all soldiers learn before move to the digital system.
Air assault raids are extremely unique, high risk, short duration operations with an inherently dangerous nature. The Soldiers of 4-27 FA continue to train with these very unique scenarios all the while providing feedback of systems that could change the shape of the future Army and their operational effectiveness makes them one of the best trained units in the Army.