Story and photo by
Sgt. Daniel Johnson
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division
WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, conducted mortar training, here, during the first week of August as part of their gunners’ certification process.
The “Golden Dragon” Soldiers used the M224 60mm mortar, M252 81mm mortar and the Stryker-mounted RMS6L 120mm mortar for the training. The variation in sizes allows for more efficient deployment of indirect fire.
“Mortar provides indirect fire,” said Lt. 1st Class Eli Gaylor, officer in charge for the range. “This allows us to provide superior firepower to units on the ground.”
“When we’re downrange, the Stryker platform allows us to be a lot more mobile,” said Sgt. Thomas White, an instructor for the gunner’s exam. “We can get the gun into action a lot quicker than if we were using a ground-mounted platform.”
Indirect fire is an essential tool for ground forces, as it allows superior firepower to be available to Soldiers in any size element.
“We allow forces downrange to engage enemy forces that may be superior in number or firepower,” Gaylor said.
“Our most essential task when receiving a fire mission is mounting the mortar system and getting the gun into action in the least amount of time possible,” White said.
The Stryker platform allows Soldiers to perform this essential task quickly.
“With the Stryker-mounted system, we can occupy and start launching round within 15 to 20 seconds,” White said.
Mortar fire can be extremely accurate and provide much-needed firepower to an overwhelmed force.
“We use lightweight handheld mortar ballistic computers to quickly and accurately calculate our fires,” Gaylor said. “It is possible to do all the calculations by hand using a plotting board, but there is a lot of math and takes longer to do.”
“You have to train, and you have to stay effective in whatever your system is,” White said. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re a clerk in the personnel section or an infantryman on the ground.”
Training and certification of Soldiers on the many aspects of the duties downrange ensure they are prepared and capable of delivering effective lethal measures in combat.
“When we get downrange, (this training) will ensure that when the situation gets tough, the fundamentals are second nature and the Soldier can perform,” White said.
Ensuring these Soldiers have the training they require is just another way the 2nd BCT is providing security in the Pacific region.