Story by U.S. Army Sgt. Darrell Stembridge
FORT HOOD (Now designated Fort Cavazos), Texas – 1st Battalion 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team “IRONHORSE,” conducted Table XII Gunnery from Jan. 17 to Jan. 24 at Fort Hood (Now designated Fort Cavazos), TX.
Table XII Gunnery is a platoon level culminating training exercise, building on the individual and crew level gunnery tables. Table XII qualifies and validates a Field Artillery platoons ability to execute collective tasks in a live fire environment, in order to deploy, fight and win whenever called upon.
“Table XII is our bread and butter,” 1st Lt. Daquan Bowman, fire direction officer, 1-82 FA, said. “Gunnery helps build teams and strengthen the camaraderie from the smallest of teams all the way up to the brigade.”
This training exercise builds trust as well as team cohesion and tests their ability to process fire missions by engaging targets in unique situations, to ensure crew members of each battery are certified and mission ready for future rotations or deployments.
“Our job and what we do supports freedom of maneuver,” 2nd Lt. Steven Gibson, fire direction officer, 1-82 FA, said.
Mission readiness and lethality will always remain a top priority for the Army and the “First Team.” Qualification for gunnery happens about every six months, ensuring each battery, from the loader to the fire direction officer, is trained and ready to respond with lethal and accurate force when needed.
“Gunnery is what a tanker does and maneuvering as an FDO is what I do best,” Gibson added.
Safety measures are taken with extreme caution when conducting training in the military. All batteries must first go through their safety checks and balances which is known as “dry runs,” before firing a single live round.
“Safety has everything to do with our job,” Spc. Anthony Vargas, fire direction specialist, 1-82 FA, said. “It is the number one priority for us.”
A Paladin crew consist of four positions. Paladin commander, gunner, loader and driver. The table of organization determines the ranks held by each of those positions. Overall, the Troopers are preparing for long distance fights and keeping the enemy contained.
“I am currently the number one man,” Vargas, said. “As a fire mission is received my chief will call out the exact details of the round we will be firing, and my job is to prepare and seat the round properly as I double check with my chief before sending it down range.”
Troopers finished the gunnery table proud and motivated as the IRONHORSE Brigade looks forward to a rotation at the National Training Center, this summer.
“Each crew relies on each other,”1st Sgt. Corey Anderson, Alpha Battery, 1-82 FA, said. “The more we work together, the more successful we become on the battlefield.”