DONA ANA RANGE, N.M. -- Over and over again, the cannon fire rings out loud across the New Mexico desert, as family and friends of 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Heavy Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, from Fort Bliss, Texas, participate in a battalion family day held at Dona Ana Range, N.M., May 2.

The cannon fire came from M777 Howitzer cannons and M1079 Paladin Artillery Systems, which were fired by Soldiers of 4-27 FA, to help the family and friends of the unit get a better understanding of what it's like to be in the field.

"I think its great for the wives to come out here and learn what their husbands do," said August Warde a member of the Battery B, 4-27, Family Readiness Group and wife of Capt. Stephen D. Warde, commander Battery B. "To just listen to it can be confusing; you can't understand what they are talking about until you see it visually."

The family day began with a demonstration of the 4-27 FA troops conducting fire missions, using both artillery systems to fire at positions, so all attending the event could see the impact of the artillery rounds.

After the demonstration, the attendees walked though the whole process of conducting a fire mission and given extensive instructions about safety procedures designed to eliminate the chance of anyone getting hurt.

"We want to make sure the family members are safe," said Stephen Warde, a native of Las Vegas, N.V., who attended the family day with his wife. "We want them to experience what we do, but we want them to do it safely."

With safety instructions complete, the attending family and friends of 4-27 FA, moved out to the gun line, where everyone was given the chance to take part in a full-artillery fire mission.

The fire missions started with the individual cannon teams receiving a call for an artillery fire mission, in which the teams react by aiming the cannon and loading it with live rounds. An attendee then pulls the trigger mechanism, firing a high-powered and well-aimed round into the New Mexico desert.

"You get to shoot a big huge gun," said August Warde, a mother of three girls and one boy. "I don't know how much more fun you could possibly have."

The Soldiers of 4-27 FA are at Dona Ana Range to take part in the Network Integration Evaluation12.2 capability assessment being conducted in the Ft. Bliss area by 2nd HBCT.

While participating in NIE 12.2, the battalion also works on maintaining and improving their cannon capabilities. Even with all that work to do, the unit command always schedules a family day to help improve the morale of the Soldiers and make those who support the unit, feel appreciated for their hard work.

"I'm really proud of all the Soldiers," said August Warde, who has been involved in the FRG since her husband joined the unit two years ago. "I am really proud to be part of Bravo Battery."

Page last updated Fri May 18th, 2012 at 00:00