Morgan’s Men break barriers sending rounds downrange

By, Maj. Jimmie Warinner, 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery

623 live fire

A M142 High Mobility Rocket Launcher (HIMARS) from the 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery fires during training at Camp Atterbury, Ind., July 21, 2015. The launch was the first live fire exercise conducted at Camp Atterbury. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Maj. Jimmie Warriner)

CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. — Soldiers of the 1st Battalion 623rd Field Artillery recently completed an innovative and successful annual training at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. The key training event for AT 2015 was a seven day field training exercise that concluded July 24 with all crews in the battalion conducting multiple live fires with the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

This was the first Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) or HIMARS live fire ever conducted at Camp Atterbury, and was made possible through close coordination with the 1/623rd and Camp Atterbury’s Range Control personnel. Not only did this coordination allow Morgan’s Men to successfully complete crew certifications, but it also demonstrated an increased training capability for Camp Atterbury confirming that they can support future live fire training for both MLRS and HIMARS units.

This was only one of three “firsts” that Morgan’s Men accomplished during this annual training.

623 Green Crew

Spc. Michael Fosso, Staff Sgt. Norman Schwartz, and Spc. Logan Green with the 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery stand in front of their HIMARS vehicle, “Rebel 42” during their live fire exercise during annual training July 21, 2015 at Camp Atterbury, Ind.  Green is the first female crew member with the 1/623rd. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Maj. Jimmie Warriner)

Among the crew members sending rockets roaring downrange was Spc. Logan Green, the first female MLRS Crewman to ever fire a rocket for the 1/623rd. With more combat arms military occupational specialties opening to women, females now have the option of becoming MLRS Crewmen (13M) or Fire Direction Control Operators (13P) within HIMARS units.

A HIMARS crew consists of a Gunner, Driver, and Launcher Chief. Green is the driver for Alpha Battery’s HIMARS nicknamed “Rebel 42”. She grew up in Florida and joined the Kentucky National Guard because she always wanted to be in the military and it allowed her to fund her college education.

“I am proud and excited to be the first female to live fire the HIMARS in the 1-623d and I want to set a good example for other Soldiers, males and females, who serve with me”. Green, a 2015 recipient of the Minuteman Scholarship, plans on continuing her military career by pursuing a commission as a Field Artillery officer through the University of Kentucky’s ROTC program.

Click here to read about Green’s enlistment into the Kentucky Guard.

The final “first” completed during Annual Training 2015 was support of a MLRS Crewmen (13M30) Advanced Leadership Course (ALC) conducted by 1st Battalion 238th Regiment. Nine Soldiers, including seven from the 1/623rd completed the first week of the 13M30 course at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Kentucky before traveling to Camp Atterbury to complete week two in the field. For the culminating event of the course, the ALC students were certified by the battalion’s Master Gunner and then participated in a HIMARS live fire.

This was the first time that a HIMARS live fire has been part of a MLRS crewman course, but something that Regional Training Institutes throughout the country are considering implementing as part of their course of instruction. The partnership between the 1/623rd and 1/238th proved that this concept of training is viable, allowing Soldiers to complete ALC while also participating in valuable training exercises with their assigned units and crews. This cooperative effort also resulted in the Soldiers completing the course with very little additional cost to the Kentucky Army National Guard beyond that of a normal annual training.

With Annual Training 2015 completed, Morgan’s Men are now preparing for future training operations and more “firsts” such as a planned training event with the Kentucky Air National Guard.

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