Soldiers for a day
January 23, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. -- Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 17th Field Artillery, 75th Fires Brigade celebrated "1-17th day" with their family members Jan. 17, at Forward Operations Base Moway.
The artillery celebration kicked off at 1:17 a.m. with a series of bangs via several of the battalion's M109A6 Paladin Self Propelled Howitzers.
"Did anybody hear some thunder last night?" asked the commander of the "Copperheads" battalion, Lt. Col. Mark P. Krieger as he greeted the more than 100 family members at Moway.
The event helped the commander fulfill a couple of objectives while focusing on reaching out to the battalion's families and its servicemen and women.
We wanted to do this [train] while bringing the families out here to let them see what their Soldiers are doing and to celebrate the Soldiers and their families as a battalion, said Kreiger.
Some of the couples in attendance at the event have been together for more than a decade. However, it marked the first time the spouses and family members witnessed firsthand what their significant others do in the field environment.
"We've been together for 17 years and married for 14 years," said Shawnta Wilson, the wife of Staff Sgt. Charlie Wilson, an artilleryman.
This is the first time that my family has been able to see what he [Charlie] does when he is deployed or in the field, said the Riviera, Fla., native.
Many of the Soldiers echoed one common message when asked what having their loved ones be able to experience a glimpse of their lives away from home meant to them.
I've been explaining what it's like [to be an artilleryman] at home but there is nothing like being able to come out and experience the sight, the sound and the smell for yourself, said Charlie Wilson.
For one spouse, the celebration was fulfilled her desire to have a deeper understanding of the environment that surrounds a typical FOB that is located in Afghanistan.
"Being able to come out to this FOB is neat,' said Venisa Hernandez, the wife of Spc. Brian Hernandez, a paladin gunner.
He [Brian] has deployed and I always wanted to see what it looked like where he was staying, said the wife of the veteran of war. Plus, it's an amazing opportunity for the children to be able to see what their dad does.
While conducting the event, dubbed "1-17th Day on 1/17 at 1:17," the unit was able to undergo crew certification training. Additionally, the event was a precursor to a two-week long platoon training exercise, which is scheduled to begin in the later part of this month.