Teamwork puts rounds on target for Indiana, Kentucky artillery units

ABH
By Staff Sgt. Aaron Hiler/133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

A 155mm artillery shell flies towards an impact area at Fort Knox as part of the gun crew certification of Battery C, 2-150th Fires Battalion, during their annual training, Sunday, July 18. The 2-150th, a unit of the Indiana Army National Guard, worked closely with its parent unit, Kentucky's 138th Fires Brigade, to certify its gun crews prior to receiving the new M777 howitzer next year. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron Hiler, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

FORT KNOX, Ky. (July 23, 2010) –- “Viper Three-Eight, this is Mojo Eight-Five, adjust fire, over.”

Every Soldier knows that cooperation is key to accomplishing the mission, because the combined efforts of a team frequently yield results individuals cannot achieve alone.  So when the Kentucky National Guard and Indiana National Guard join together to train artillery units, the results are guaranteed to be spectacular.

The Indiana Army National Guard’s 2-150th Fires Battalion is conducting its annual training at Fort Knox, Ky., this week where it is joined by elements of its parent unit, the Kentucky Army National Guard’s 138th Fires Brigade.

Two wooden towers at Observation Point 12 overlook the impact area of Fort Knox’s Training Area #2.  While the heat and humidity are almost stifling, the towers’ hilltop location provides for frequent cool breezes.  Staff Sgt. Keith Leach, a targeting noncommissioned officer for Kentucky’s 138th Fires Brigade stands in the tower next to two other Soldiers from the 2-150th Fires Battalion.

“This is my first time working with the 2-150th,” said Leach.  “And so far, it’s been a great experience.”

Leach and three other Soldiers from the 138th are at Fort Knox to train the forward observers of the 2-150th.  “Many of [the 2-150th’s] observers only have the training they receive in advanced individual training, so this field experience will help refine the skills they already have,” Leach remarked.

“The forward observers find targets for the batteries and relay firing instructions to the Fire Direction Center,” explains 1st Lt. Josh Huber, a liaison officer for the 2-150th Fires Battalion.  “Then, once the gun crews start firing, they help adjust fire to bring the shells on target.”

The forward observers are getting training that is vital to helping certify the gun crews of Battery C, 2-150th Fires Battalion.  Next year, the 2-150th will be trading in their M198 155mm howitzers for the Army’s newest artillery piece, the M777 howitzer, which makes this certification process very important for successfully transitioning to the new gun system.

Huber picks up a pair of binoculars and watches the impact area.  A plume of dirt and smoke rises into the air followed a second later by the sound of that impact.

“Viper Three-Eight, this is Mojo Eight-Five.  Target destroyed.  Steel on steel.  End of mission. Out”

Spc. Aaron Shook, Battery C, 2-150th Fires Battalion, pulls a cleaning brush from the breach of an M198 155mm howitzer after firing a shell as part of the gun crew's certification process at Fort Knox's Kennedy range, Sunday, July 18.    The 2-150th, a unit of the Indiana Army National Guard, worked closely with its parent unit, Kentucky's 138th Fires Brigade, to certify its gun crews prior to receiving the new M777 howitzer next year.  (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron Hiler, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

About kentuckyguard