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Fort Bliss, TX (U.S. Army) — Using a mix of cutting-edge technology and old-fashioned air assault rigging, the artillerymen from 1st Platoon, Battery B, 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, provided supportive fire during a Joint Task Force field artillery air assault raid and airborne insertion training scenario here, May 13.
The unit brought two M777A2 howitzer gun sections into the battle space to destroy simulated enemy forces and secure 2nd BCT’s operational environment. First Platoon conducted eight simulation fire missions to suppress the air defenses of the Attican Liberation Army, the fictitious forces the unit trained against, to secure air space for an airborne.
“The objective of my platoon’s air assault raid was to emplace M777A2s … prior to an airborne drop in order to provide suppression of enemy air defenses on the (drop zone),” said 1st Lt. David Galusha, platoon leader of 1st Platoon.
Galusha, who graduated from Sabalauski Air Assault School, Fort Campbell, Ky., in 2008, has conducted one previous live air assault mission with 4-27 FA.
According to Galusha, the mission would not have been possible without communications equipment his platoon used as part of 2/1 AD’s Network Integration Evaluation 13.2. Btry. B’s dismounted fire direction center was able to communicate with the battalion tactical operations center without vehicles or line-of-sight radio systems, a breakthrough in combat technology.
The training for the mission required several weeks of preparation, including several days of Soldiers rigging the howitzers for the air assault and a live static load the day prior. Soldiers also trained before NIE, using the cranes on their ammunition vehicles to prepare hook-up teams.
Pvt. Ryan Kinsey, a member of the hook-up team from 2nd Platoon, Btry. B, a first-term Soldier and first-time participant of the NIE, explained how beneficial the training has been. “It was very motivating … it opened my eyes to new possibilities I want to do in the Army, like going to air assault school and conducting real air assault missions.”
“(Air assault) allows us to move larger firepower further into the battlefield and provide maximum firepower down range,” said Capt. Stephen Warde, commander, Btry. B, 4-27 FA. “In Afghanistan … they’re picking up M777s, air lifting them, moving them to where they need to be to destroy the enemy.”
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