Historic gun crew gives demo at Old Post Quadrangle
February 16, 2012
FORT SILL, Okla.-- The Field Artillery Museum Muzzle Loading Gun Crew put on a demonstration Feb. 11 firing an 1841 6-pound field gun at the Old Post Quadrangle.
The crew conducted three separate blank firing-drills as part of the Fort Sill Museum's monthly historical outreach.
"We want to let the public know about our programs and educational opportunities and also raise their awareness of the great treasures we have at the Field Artillery Museum and the Fort Sill Museum," said Frank Siltman, director of museums. "We have so many unique things not only to Fort Sill, but also Southwest Oklahoma and the Army."
Although Fort Sill was founded in 1869, there were only infantry units first stationed here, Siltman said.
It wasn't until 1903 when the 29th Field Artillery arrived that Fort Sill had its first FA unit.
"There might have been one artilleryman in charge, but the infantrymen would have fired the 12-pound mountain howitzers available," he said.
During the demonstration, the gun crew was attired in the standard light artillery uniform the Army used from 1858 through 1872, Siltman said.
"The red piping on the jacket annotated the artillery branch," he said. "The standard headgear was the 1858 forage cap."
Volunteers and employees from the Fort Sill museums made up the gun crew. Volunteer Calvin Lamoreaux, 18, of Pumpkin Center, portrayed the No. 2 gun crewman, who took the round and placed it in the muzzle.
"I love history," said Lamoreaux, a homeschooled student in his senior year. "I spend a lot of time with history and doing historical things."
Despite the cold and wind, about 20 spectators gathered at each of the firings.
Harry Shappell, a retired chief warrant officer, explained to the crowds the different types of ammunition that could be fired from the field gun.
Ammo ranged from sold shot to exploding shells to case shot which was invented by Henry Shrapnel.
Instructor Staff Sgt. Timothy Riser, B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 6th Air Defense Artillery, met some of his advanced individual training students at the demonstration for an educational outing.
"I'm a big history buff, and I love to take my Soldiers to museums to show where we came from," said Riser, who teaches the Air Battle Management Command and Control course. "Last week, (at Artillery Park) we saw where we came from as air defenders with all those pieces."
AIT student Pvt. Kahmar Turner said it was pretty cool seeing how far technology has come from black powder to electronics and radar systems.
"It was basic technology that was so simple, but so effective," said Turner, who is training to become an Air Defense Battle Management System Operator, MOS 14-G.