U.S. Army Soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, shoot a M109 Paladin as part of a battalion-level artillery qualification exercise, March 8, 2021, at the Dona Ana Range Complex, NM. This field training exercise is in preparation for an upcoming National Training Center rotation. | U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Luis Santiago

Ahead of rotation to NTC, Field Artillery conducts Live Fire Exercise

FORT BLISS   – U.S. Army Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, participated in a battalion-level artillery qualification training exercise at the Dona Ana Range Complex, New Mexico on March 5-10, 2021.

“Artillery Table XVIII (18) is an external and comprehensive evaluation of the field artillery battalion operations in a tactical field environment,” said Capt. Kossi Komlassan, the assistant operations officer with 1st Armored Division Artillery.

“The battalion-level artillery qualification exercise is important because it enables the field artillery battalion to become proficient in both its tactical and technical tasks.”

The approach for the qualification course is to get Soldiers ready for an upcoming National Training Center rotation in Fort Irwin, California. This real-life training allows the teams to refine their tactics and maneuvers at the squad level to keeping them mission ready.

1st Lt. Carla Garza, a fire direction officer with Alpha battery, 2-3 FA said, “This training exercise certifies individual Soldiers on individual skills, all the way up to the battalion and eventually this will prepare us for NTC for brigade operations.”

During the exercise, the forward observers were responsible for overseeing round verifications from the M109 Paladin, fire mission commands and also communicates targeting information from the fire direction center.

Garza also emphasized that the fire direction center must provide accurate and safe fires by ensuring all of the information is correct before sending out the mission information.

“This exercise allows the Iron Soldiers fire support community to effectively coordinate, integrate, synchronize, and employ fire and its effects to achieve the division commander’s objectives,” stated Komlassan. “So that we are able to become a lethal fire support formation, capable of providing timely and accurate joint fires in support of 1st Armored Division.”

Author: Pfc. Luis Santiago – 24th Theater Public Affairs Support Element