Soldiers fly off to teach others artillery salutes
Staff Sgt. Jobari Prater (left), administrative NCO, Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), U.S. Army Garrison (USAG), and Sgt. Michael Kimberly, HHC USAG ceremony team member, prepare for a Blackhawk helicopter ride to Fort Rucker, Ala., Monday. The two were going there to teach other Soldiers how to properly fire artillery for special ceremonies. 

Two Soldiers took a trip Aug. 16 - not to toot their own horns, but rather to help others shoot their guns.

Staff Sgt. Jobari Prater, administrative NCO, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison, and Sgt. Michael Kimberly, HHC USAG ceremony team member, were flown on a Blackhawk helicopter to Fort Rucker, Ala., to train Soldiers on performing salute ceremonies with artillery pieces.

Salute ceremonies, high-profile events used to salute the nation or for a general officer retirement ceremony, require safety and precision due to the use of artillery, Kimberly said.

"Safety is a big part of the ceremony," he said, adding that when using artillery, there is a greater chance for fires and injuries.

Prater, who spent seven years as an artilleryman before being reclassified, said although it will be his first time training Soldiers on how to use artillery in a salute ceremony, it will not be his first time directing fire.

A former gun section chief, Prater said he has worked with artillery throughout his military career, adding he hopes to impart his knowledge to fellow Soldiers during his three-day trip to Fort Rucker.

It's important, he said, because of the high-profile nature of ceremonies that use the artillery.

Kimberly agreed, adding he hopes to instill in the Soldiers he trains the same professionalism and dedication observed by the U.S. Army Garrison ceremonies team when they are called to duty.

"It's all about military heritage and history," he said. "You don't want to mess up. If you mess up a ceremony, it reflects badly on the whole unit."

Page last updated Fri August 20th, 2010 at 10:04