• Sgt. Frantz Sylvain, the gunner for 8th section, Battery B, 1-258thField Artillery makes fine adjustments while the crew lays the M119A2 howitzer Sept. 17 at the Fort Drum artillery range.  The unit received new howitzers and this weekend drill was the battalion's first live fire exercise with its new 105 millimeter guns. The new modern artillery pieces replace the M-102 howitzer's the battalion had been borrowing to train with.

    1-258th Field Artillery Fires New Guns

    Sgt. Frantz Sylvain, the gunner for 8th section, Battery B, 1-258thField Artillery makes fine adjustments while the crew lays the M119A2 howitzer Sept. 17 at the Fort Drum artillery range. The unit received new howitzers and this weekend drill was the...

  • FORT DRUM, NY--A 105mm high explosive round leaves the tube of an M119A2 and heads toward the target downrange during a live fire exercise Sept. 17 at the Fort Drum artillery range.  The unit received new howitzers and this weekend drill was the battalion's first live fire exercise with its new 105 millimeter guns. The new modern artillery pieces replace the M-102 howitzer's the battalion had been borrowing to train with.

    1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery Fires New Guns

    FORT DRUM, NY--A 105mm high explosive round leaves the tube of an M119A2 and heads toward the target downrange during a live fire exercise Sept. 17 at the Fort Drum artillery range. The unit received new howitzers and this weekend drill was the...

  • Lt. Col. Mike Hoblin, commander of the 1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery christens an M-119 howitzer belonging to Battery B during live fire training at the Fort Drum artillery range September 16-19 before sending the first round downrange. 
 This weekend drill was the battalion's first live fire exercise with its new 105 millimeter guns. The new modern artillery pieces replace the M-102 howitzer's the battalion had been using.

    1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery Fires New Guns

    Lt. Col. Mike Hoblin, commander of the 1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery christens an M-119 howitzer belonging to Battery B during live fire training at the Fort Drum artillery range September 16-19 before sending the first round downrange. This...

  • FORT DRUM, NY--A 105mm high explosive round leaves the tube of an M119A2 and heads toward the target downrange during a live fire exercise Sept. 17 at the Fort Drum artillery range.  The unit received new howitzers and this weekend drill was the battalion's first live fire exercise with its new 105 millimeter guns. The new modern artillery pieces replace the M-102 howitzer's the battalion had been borrowing to train with.

    1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery Fires New Guns

    FORT DRUM, NY--A 105mm high explosive round leaves the tube of an M119A2 and heads toward the target downrange during a live fire exercise Sept. 17 at the Fort Drum artillery range. The unit received new howitzers and this weekend drill was the...

  • FORT DRUM, NY--A 105mm high explosive round leaves the tube of an M119A2 and heads toward the target downrange during a live fire exercise Sept. 17 at the Fort Drum artillery range.  The unit received new howitzers and this weekend drill was the battalion's first live fire exercise with its new 105 millimeter guns. The new modern artillery pieces replace the M-102 howitzer's the battalion had been borrowing to train with.

    1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery Fires New Guns

    FORT DRUM, NY--A 105mm high explosive round leaves the tube of an M119A2 and heads toward the target downrange during a live fire exercise Sept. 17 at the Fort Drum artillery range. The unit received new howitzers and this weekend drill was the...

  • FORT DRUM, NY--Sgt. Frantz Sylvain, the gunner for 8th section, Battery B , 1st Battalion 258 Field Artillery fires the M119A2 howitzer Sept. 17 at the Fort Drum artillery range.  The unit received new howitzers and this weekend drill was the battalion's first live fire exercise with its new 105 millimeter guns. The new modern artillery pieces replace the M-102 howitzer's the battalion had been borrowing to train with.

    1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery Fires New Guns

    FORT DRUM, NY--Sgt. Frantz Sylvain, the gunner for 8th section, Battery B , 1st Battalion 258 Field Artillery fires the M119A2 howitzer Sept. 17 at the Fort Drum artillery range. The unit received new howitzers and this weekend drill was the...

  • FORT DRUM, NY--Pvt. First Class Christopher Magee, a forward observer with the target acquisition section, Headquarters Battery, 1-258 Field Artillery Battalion, New York Army National Guard, scans the impact zone during a live fire exercise at the Fort Drum artillery range, September 16-19.

    1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery Fires New Guns

    FORT DRUM, NY--Pvt. First Class Christopher Magee, a forward observer with the target acquisition section, Headquarters Battery, 1-258 Field Artillery Battalion, New York Army National Guard, scans the impact zone during a live fire exercise at the...

  • FORT DRUM, NY--Staff Sgt. Onix Lugo, platoon sergeant for the target acquisition section, Headquarters Battery, 1-258th Field Artillery , New York Army National Guard, reviews a map of the impact zone and calculates corrections for the battery fire direction center during live fire training at the Fort Drum artillery range September 16-19.

    1st BAttalion 258th Field Artillery Fires New Guns

    FORT DRUM, NY--Staff Sgt. Onix Lugo, platoon sergeant for the target acquisition section, Headquarters Battery, 1-258th Field Artillery , New York Army National Guard, reviews a map of the impact zone and calculates corrections for the battery fire...

  • FORT DRUM, NY--The 1-258th Artillery Battalion gun line at Fort Drum, NY on Sept. 18-19.

    1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery Fires New Guns

    FORT DRUM, NY--The 1-258th Artillery Battalion gun line at Fort Drum, NY on Sept. 18-19.

FORT DRUM, NY - Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 258th Field Artillery, New York Army National Guard, launched rounds downrange here with 16 new M119A2 howitzers here during a live fire exercise September 16-19.

The event marked the unit's ownership of the newly assigned howitzers after five years of borrowing tubes from other artillery units in order to train.

The battalion reorganized as a towed artillery battalion in 2005 to support an infantry brigade. Prior to that, the 1-258th was equipped with M109 self-propelled howitzers and supported an armored brigade.

In 2004 more than 250 of the unit's Soldiers deployed to Iraq, organized as military police units.
Following the unit reorganization, the battalion borrowed M102 howitzers of Vietnam War vintage when they went to the field.

"Every time we fired, we had to borrow cannons from another unit," said Command Sgt. Major Christopher Parker, the battalion Command Sgt. Major. "The Soldiers love the new guns...These men are artillerymen and they love to shoot and it is important to them to have their own equipment and not have to rely on another unit."

The new tubes were christened by Lt. Col. Michael Hoblin, the battalion commander, just after successfully sending the first round down range.

"The transition to the new guns went very well," Hoblin said. "The battalion's ability to become certified after such a long period of time without having guns is really a testament to the NCO leadership and to the firing batteries."

The battalion traveled to Michigan and Florida earlier this year to certify gun crews on the new M119 howitzers. They were trained by instructors from Fort Sill, Oklahoma prior to receiving their own.

"Now, each gun chief has been assigned a cannon and it will always be their cannon," Parker said. "It's more personal."

"The training that we received as a battalion was actually great," said Staff Sgt. Jamie Betancur, the section chief for gun eight of Battery B. "As a chief, it feels great knowing that I actually can own my own M119 and don't have to borrow from another state."

Sgt. Frantz Sylvain, the gunner for eighth section said he could not wait for the new guns to arrive.

"I am so happy to receive the guns right now," he said. "The M102 was Vietnam era. This is 2010...The active component has been using this gun for years, but the National Guard never had it...it was about time we received it."

Sylvain's primary responsibility is to lay the gun for the proper deflection and quadrant and fire the howitzer.

"Even though we just received the new guns, we have been training on them for a while in anticipation of their arrival. I could not wait until we got them," Sylvain said.

The 1-258th is part of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and is the only artillery unit in the New York Army National Guard and, with a possible deployment to Afghanistan, the unit will be training to prepare.

"This is very exciting to get a new gun," said Sgt. Joseph Shields, the gun chief for gun seven, in Battery A.

"We were prepared to get them. This weapon is more accurate and makes it easier on the chief and crew. Alpha Battery is very excited to field these new weapons and we will train as hard as we can...we do not know what the future brings, but we promise that we will be ready," Shields said.

"This is the first time, this battalion, in recent history has had 16 guns and 16 certified crews on these weapon systems," Hoblin said. "Without their dedication and expertise, this would have been a very difficult enterprise."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16