Rail Gunners wrap up 3 weeks of training
September 28, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas - The 41st Fires Brigade completes its Table XV field training exercise after three weeks of training and evaluations throughout various training areas spanning from North Fort Hood to the far ends of main post.
The Table XV is an artillery table evaluation of the batteries within a brigade. From Sept. 13 - 28, 2010, the Soldiers within the Rail Gunners brigade trained on tasks covering the unit's mission essential tasks list.
"Table XV is part of a gate training strategy that is aimed at battery level qualifications," said Col. J. T. Thomson, Tyler, Texas native, brigade commander for the 41st Fires Brigade. "It is an external evaluation where batteries go through a 96-hour evaluation."
The first task occurred in the breaking hours of the morning when the unit received the alert to grab their gear, prepare to load up in the motor pool, and move out to their initial firing positions, said Thomson.
From that point, the unit continued to cycle through the rest of its METL tasks including: operating in an NBC environment, defending against small arms threats, reacting to indirect fire, the command and control element, and the delivery of fires.
"Every event comes with sub tasks," said Thomson. "Fires is more than just rocket and missile fire. It's all about being able to move your platoons and batteries on the battle field, then communicate digitally and in voice. The bottom line is to put accurate, timely and decisive fires down range."
The 41st Fires Brigade is one of six fires brigades in the Army. Every fires brigade goes through a series of certifications making multiple assessments at various levels.
"As we move forward, we're going through a period of training cycles," said Capt. Christopher Burton, Bismarck, Ark. native, battery commander for Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Fires Brigade. "We've trained and trained over several quarters. Now, we're at a phase where we have to test those systems and validate the training we've conducted as a fires brigade so we can prepare to deploy as a fires brigade for whatever future missions may come our way."
The 41st Fires Bde. has two battalions, the 1st Bn., 21st Field Artillery Regt. and the 2nd Bn., 20th Field Artillery Regt., along with three batteries per battalion, A, B and C, two forward support companies, 67th FSC and 575th FSC, a network signal company; the 324th NSC, and a brigade support battalion; the 589th BSB with three additional companies.
As the days went by, Soldiers battled with weather of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, to rainy, then down into the 50s, but the Soldiers continued to train.
"The days out here are usually long and hot, but pouting about things won't make anything any better," said Pvt. Melissa Gomes-Rodriguez, Boston native, survey and meteorological crew member, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 41st Fires Brigade. "I've received some valuable training out here that I think will help me through the rest of my time in the Army."
By the end of the Table XV training the 41st Fires Bde. was mission certified.
"This was a much needed exercise. It's been about two and a half years since the entire brigade has been out doing its core competencies of delivering and integrating fires," said Thomson. "I'm very pleased with progress. Training is a journey, not a destination. It's not an end state, there's always room for improvement."