Field grade leaders and troop command teams from the 3rd Cavalry Regiment gained a greater understanding of the fires warfighting function during a fires demonstration on Jan. 28 at Fort Hood.
The leader professional development training took place after physical fitness training and continued during leader training time with more in-depth topics through the regiment’s Fires University. The purpose of the fires demonstration is to help build a deeper understanding of field artillery capabilities within the 3rd Cav. Regt. team.
“Our troopers work side-by-side, and integrate their skills to create a team of thousands of troopers who can work together to achieve a common goal,” Maj. Noah Tartal, regimental fire support officer, said. “A detailed demonstration gives each trooper better situational awareness of what the man, or woman, to their left and right are doing for the team. This creates shared understanding throughout the regiment and helps foster a greater respect for one another’s efforts.”
Tartal said every trooper is highly trained in their particular discipline, and on Jan. 28, Steel Squadron showcased the field artillery troopers in military occupational specialties 13A (field artillery officer), 13B (cannon crewmember), 13F (forward observer) and 13J (fire control specialist). These troopers operate throughout the operational framework by using knowledge and skill to get eyes on the enemy undetected in the deep fight to the regimental consolidation area where the M777 cannons fire the munition. Through the troopers proficiency with military communications, both digital and analog, observers remain in contact with fire direction team in order to provide timely and accurate fires to protect friendly forces from the enemy. Fire direction troopers then go about taking that data, working through the math in order for the cannon crew to fire 100lb munitions several miles away from their positions.
“The timeliness and accuracy of all these skills working together help to protect friendly forces from the enemy. A detailed deep dive into one aspect of how we fight is a way we continue to build cohesive teams throughout the Regiment and stay ready to win in the contemporary operating environment,” Tartal said. “It was great seeing troopers gathered around the different briefers/demonstrators asking questions and their genuine curiosity about their teammate’s specialty.”
Col. Kevin Bradley, 3rd Cav. Regt. commander, provided leaders with the opportunity to learn how the fire chain is executed and get hands-on experience with equipment and systems.
“This training focuses on the technical side and how the digital chain works,” Bradley said. “The training provides the opportunity for our troopers to ask questions, and it feeds into the afternoon where we will discuss the process in more detail. The training is completely interactive and requires deliberate thinking.”
Lt. Col. Tyler Donnell, Field Artillery Sqdn. commander, said the morning fires demonstration provided troopers an opportunity to visualize what will be discussed during the Fires University training later in the day.
“All nodes in the fire chain must work. This demonstration will provide a step-by-step demonstration of how all the nodes work through the whole fire mission down to the gun line,” Donnell said. “We also included a PT event to demonstrate life down on the gun line.”
Spc. Emilio Arrieta, a 13F with the 3rd Cav. Regt. Field Artillery Sqdn., demonstrated how targets are acquired and fire missions sent to the gun line during the fires demonstration.
“I love our job and what we do,” Arrieta said. “Even though it’s cold out here today, I like being able to show people what we do.”
Capt. Charles Trumpfheller, Charlie Battery commander, Field Artillery Sqdn., discussed the platoon and battery role in coordinating fire missions down to the gun line.
“The troopers at the platoon and battery level provide vital fire support coordination measures,” Trumpfheller said. “It is very technical data that we are feeding up to the squadron and down to the gun line. The platoon and battery are the last check before the fire mission goes to the gun line.”
The last node of the fires demonstration is the gun line. Donnell had troop commanders conduct a physical training event that demonstrated the physical work that a 14B canon crew member performs during a fire mission. Troop commanders ran a short sprint with ammo rounds; to simulate digging in the M777 Howitzer, they had to hit a tire with a sledgehammer 30 times and then, with the levers, pumped the gun up to ride height.
“When it comes down to it, planning a gun mission is complex,” Donnell said. “Planning a fires mission requires a lot of coordination and hard work.”