FORT POLK, La. ---- Soldiers of 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, supported a field training exercise by conducting fire missions at Peason Ridge Sept. 15-17.

The exercise, which builds upon previous field events, introduced new "wrinkles" into training as the artillerymen were supporting other battalions during their missions.

"We're out here conducting live fire missions in support of infantry maneuver operations," said Staff Sgt. Joshua Smith, Battery B, 5th Bn, 25th FA. "(We're) thumping rounds downrange, moving, shooting and communicating. Everything we can do to get better."

Along with supporting infantry movements during training missions, 5-25 Soldiers took care of internal training by certifying their own troops on Howitzers. "We've certified a few guns. We're training with the FOs (forward observers) and our infantry units to get some maneuver artillery downrange," said

Spc. Stevenson Davis, fire direction control computer operator. "We're going to be deploying with these guys so everyone wants to get a feel for each other. We practice with them, they practice with us and we can put our battle rhythm together for calling in fire missions when we deploy."

Capt. Frank Adams, commander, Battery B, 5th Bn, 25th FA, said he was excited about how well his battery and the "Thunder" battalion has looked overall during the brigade's mission so far. "This has been great training for the entire battery," said Adams. "Peason Ridge lends itself out to a lot of training."

More than just setting up and firing artillery, Adams said he and his men are preparing for anything they can run into downrange. "I think the constant moving is something that we've been working steadily toward with our two other battalion field training exercises," said Adams.

"We're just continuing training and becoming more proficient as artillerymen. Our goal is to become the best light artillery battery in support of our battalion (and) in support of the brigade for future operations."

Having deployed with 5-25 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Davis understands the importance of training to get field artillery ready when called upon. "Field artillery is the largest piece of the brigade because I know from our last deployment they used us a lot," said Davis. "They counted on us to put the rounds downrange when they needed us to do so. There was never any problem, any complications, and that's what makes me feel like it's an important part."

Davis said he is excited to see how far he and his fellow artillerymen have come this year and looks forward to building upon what they've learned during this training exercise. "I think our training is effective," said Davis. "There is always more you can do to improve yourself in certain areas but I think we could deploy in one or two months from now and still get the job done efficiently to standard."

Smith said he understands how important this training is to the brigade's overall success now and in the future. "We're the kings of battle. Not everyone can kill everything with an M4 (carbine rifle)," said Smith. "Sometimes you need a bigger bullet and that's what we do. We rain hell and fury on anybody trying to harm American troops and we're extremely good at it."

Page last updated Mon September 24th, 2012 at 00:00