‘On Time’ unit fires live on Oahu for first time in 6 yrs.

| September 11, 2012 | 1 Comment
An M777 Howitzer discharges live ammo at Area X on Schofield Barracks, Aug. 28. Firing live on Oahu will allow Soldiers with Btry. B, 2nd Bn., 11th FA Regt., 2nd SBCT, 25th ID, to maintain proficiency on the guns through more frequent, local training.

An M777 Howitzer discharges live ammo at Area X on Schofield Barracks, Aug. 28. Firing live on Oahu will allow Soldiers with Btry. B, 2nd Bn., 11th FA Regt., 2nd SBCT, 25th ID, to maintain proficiency on the guns through more frequent, local training.

2-11th FA Regt. brings out the big guns

Story and photos by Sgt. Robert England
2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Soldiers from Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery Regiment, “On Time,” 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, conducted an artillery live-fire exercise at Area X, here, Aug. 28.

Staff Sgt. Jordan Eiesland (right), cannon crewmember, Btry. B, 2nd Bn., 11th FA Regt., 2nd SBCT, 25th ID, discusses his duties with Maj. Gen. Kurt Fuller (center), commander, 25th ID, during an artillery live-fire exercise at Area X, Schofield Barracks, Aug. 28. The battery followed specific guidelines ensuring the safety of both the Soldiers and the surrounding communities.

Staff Sgt. Jordan Eiesland (right), cannon crewmember, Btry. B, 2nd Bn., 11th FA Regt., 2nd SBCT, 25th ID, discusses his duties with Maj. Gen. Kurt Fuller (center), commander, 25th ID, during an artillery live-fire exercise at Area X, Schofield Barracks, Aug. 28. The battery followed specific guidelines ensuring the safety of both the Soldiers and the surrounding communities.

The live-fire marked the first artillery shoot on Oahu since August 2006, said Ken Torre, a supervisor with the Schofield Barracks Range Control Office.

“The gap in artillery live fire on Oahu was a combination of units being gone for deployment, and the difficulty of conducting productive training with the range restrictions that existed over that time,” said Lt. Col. Dewey Mosley, commander, 2nd Bn., 11th FA Regt., 2nd BCT. “In cooperation with range control, we were able to update and revise range requirements to maximize both safety and training value.”

Torre stressed safety considerations taken into account weeks before the first round was fired.

“There are two mandatory documents required to perform a safe artillery exercise: Surface Danger Zone (or SDZ), which provides the firing limits of the guns being fired, and the unit’s fire data, which provides the data to ensure rounds that are being fired impact inside the SDZ,” Torre said.

Besides adhering to safety standards, “On Time” Soldiers implemented the five requirements for accurate, predicted fire. These requirements are (1) accurate target location, (2) accurate battery location, (3) accurate ammo and weapon information, (4) accurate meteorological information, and (5) accurate computational procedures.

Mosley said that these five requirements helped to ensure that all rounds fired hit their target.

“Safety is absolutely paramount, and whether we are training in garrison or in combat, for artillery we always employ what we call the five requirements for accurate, predicted fire,” Mosley said. “We check every element of the chain that’s involved in fire support — all the way from the observers on the hill, through our fire direction centers and on to our guns — to ensure that the rounds are going to the right location.”

Staff Sgt. Travis Nickel, fire control NCO, Btry. B, 2nd Bn., 11th FA Regt., 2nd SBCT, said that the SDZ provided a very limited impact area, which added an intrinsic benefit for the artillerymen.

“The safety box is small,” Nickel said. “That contributes to accuracy in combat because it gives us a small window for error. As far as artillery in combat, sometimes we get a troops-in-contact mission where it’s key to be accurate. If not, you can endanger the friendly forces when we’re there to support them.”

Nickel said that the live-fire exercise on Oahu was a nice change from having to deploy to the Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island or the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.

“We do digital sustainment training, we do crew drills and certifications, but when you actually do a live-fire is when it comes together,” Nickel said. “It builds the unity, gets your platoon knowing the firing capabilities and shows everyone else what we can do.”

“Being able to fire here on Oahu rather than ship the entire unit to PTA is a huge savings in terms of cost, and then also we need to remember the operation tempo for these Soldiers,” Mosley said. “With multiple deployments and a great deal of training, this allows them to come out here on Oahu and fire the Howitzers, but still have quality time with their families.

“As far as what it does for the artillery and fire support community, we also need to remember that, in addition to us, we also have the National Guard field artillery battalion, and there are several U.S. Marine Corps elements that are here, as well. By opening this door up, they are able to come fire live here, as well.”

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Category: News, Safety, Training

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  1. Benjamin R Solorzano Vivar says:

    Was a pleasure to read these article;I was with the
    3rd Brigade,7/11 artillery in Viet Nam.
    Keep the good work.

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