Students learn physics from Fort Bragg Soldiers
November 6, 2009
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Students from E.E. Smith High School in Fayetteville, visited Soldiers with 18th Fires Brigade during a brigade field exercise here, Oct. 20, to learn the hands on application of projectile motion.
The 16 students studied projectile motion and muzzle velocity as part of their physics class at the school.
"Last week, we were studying projectile motion," said Drew Blazo, physics teacher at E.E. Smith. "Today we came to see projectiles in action. (The students) actually sit and calculate this stuff. This way they can see there is a practical use for it."
The students began their visit with the 18th Fires Bde., Fire Support Team which was on a hill overlooking an impact area. The FiST Soldiers took the time to explain the laser targeting system to the students and discuss the math involved in calculating a target's location.
"A lot of it is computerized now, but you still have to know how to do it," said Sgt. 1st Class Valroy Williams, Battery A, 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery, 18th Fires Bde., who was escorting the students. "There is a lot of math and a lot of intelligent people involved."
After watching artillery rounds hit their targets in the impact area, the students moved on to Btry. B, 3rd Bn., 321st Field Artillery, 18th Fires Brigade, where they learned about the rest of the team that makes an artillery mission possible.
Capt. Joe Power, battery commander, Btry. B, 3rd Bn., 321st FA, 18th Fires Bde., told the students there are three parts to field artillery. The eyes are the fire support team, the brain is the fire direction center and the brawn is the guns.
The students asked Power a variety of questions including how weather affects the rounds, how the systems work together and how far the guns can fire.
"It's interesting," said Joseph McIntosh, a senior at E.E. Smith. "Going through the step-by-step process from beginning to end makes (the physics) really clear; seeing where the actual projectiles fire from and seeing where they hit."
McIntosh said the teamwork he saw also impressed him.
"There are so many people working together it makes for a small chance of error," he said. "It changed my perspective of the Army. When you think of the Army, you think of one guy doing everything. You don't realize the amount of teamwork that goes into it."