Thunder in the Valley

ACH

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

  

Kentucky National Guard Spc. Anthony Hoffman, a Soldier assigned to 2nd Platoon, Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry, fires an M41A4 Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-Guided missile during live fire exercise at Fort Knox, Ky., Sept. 18. The TOW missile system was originally designed in the early 1960’s and has been a primary anti-tank and anti-bunker weapon for the U.S. Army.

FORT KNOX, Ky. (Sept. 24, 2010) – A violent explosion rocked through a peaceful valley in central Kentucky Sept. 18, and when the dust and smoke rose into the air, the sudden silence was interrupted by cheering Soldiers.

 Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry provided plenty of explosions during the unit’s weapons sustainment training at Fort Knox, Ky.

For the first time in more than a decade, the 1-149th conducted a live fire exercise with its Tube-Launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided missile launchers.

The M41A4 TOW Improved Target Acquisition System missile is the latest variant of the vulnerable anti-tank/anti-bunker weapon in the Army’s inventory.  The TOW missile was originally introduced into the military arsenal in the 1960’s during the Vietnam War and has been configured for use in stand-alone and vehicle-mounted roles.

“This is not only the first time we fired TOW missiles in 10 years, but also the first time any Kentucky National Guard unit fired from the new ITAS,” said Capt. Robert Andersen, 1-149th Infantry training officer.

“It’s a very mobile device that delivers extremely accurate, devastating effects on a point target,” Andersen said.  “We received the system about six months ago and immediately began training our Soldiers.”

Kentucky Guardsmen, Spc. Kenny Crag and Spc. Anthony Hoffmann, 2nd Platoon, Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry, load an M71 missile cartridge into a Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided missile launcher during live fire exercise at Ft. Knox., Sept. 18. This is the first time in more than a decade that the company conducted a live fire with live TOW missiles.

Soldiers of the unit also received training on the TOW ITAS in March when the unit fielded the weapon system.

“This has been a fun experience,” said Spc. Anthony Hoffmann, a gunner assigned to 2nd Plt. Co. D, 1-149th.

“I’ve fired other weapons before, but this is a whole new animal.  I really enjoyed it,” Hoffmann said.

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