• PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- 1st Section, 2nd Platoon, Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment pose in front of their Howitzer at COP Zerok, Afghanistan, Feb. 6, 2013. From left, 1st Lt. John Martin, Staff Sgt. Rafael Ojeda (Sec. Chief), Sgt. John Vogt, Spc. Kyle Henderson, Pfc. Nathan Patton and Pfc. Joshua Woodford.

    PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- 1st Section...

    PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- 1st Section, 2nd Platoon, Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment pose in front of their Howitzer at COP Zerok, Afghanistan, Feb. 6, 2013. From left, 1st Lt. John Martin, Staff Sgt. Rafael Ojeda (Sec...

  • PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Sgt. 1st Class Caleb Webster
(foreground) of 2nd Platoon, Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment verifies the minimum quadrants for 2nd Section's Howitzer at Combat Outpost Zerok, Afghanistan Jan. 28, 2013.

    PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Sgt. 1st Class...

    PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Sgt. 1st Class Caleb Webster (foreground) of 2nd Platoon, Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment verifies the minimum quadrants for 2nd Section's Howitzer at Combat Outpost Zerok, Afghanistan Jan. 28...

1st Lt. John Martin
2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery

COMBAT OUTPOST ZEROK, Afghanistan (Feb. 18, 2013) In early January 2013, the first two leaders, Staff Sgt. Omar Perdigon and 1st Lt. John Martin, of 2nd Platoon, Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, left Ft. Drum, N.Y., for a week-long trek to an isolated combat outpost in Afghanistan.

COP Zerok, a small outpost located in the shadow of the Hindu Kush Mountains in Paktika Province, has become the home of a select number of Soldiers from 2nd Platoon, Alpha Battery, for the duration of their deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The outpost is small and austere with few luxuries. Yet the Soldiers are at the peak of their motivation, determined to fulfill their mission in any condition as Soldiers of the "Fighting 15th," have proudly done in the past.

The day following their arrival, they began their "right seat training" with 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment from Fort Riley, Kan. With three feet of snow on the ground, the weather at the COP was passable at best, yet this did not hinder the will of the Soldiers from either battery from fulfilling their duty.

"The set up was much better than any of us had expected … they did an excellent job at bringing us up to speed. Of all my deployments, this was definitely the best transition I have experienced," said Sgt. John Vogt, a gunner from 1st Section.

The official transition of firing responsibilities from 2-32nd FA to 2-15th FA was scheduled for Feb. 3, nearly two weeks after their arrival, but 2nd Platoon was ready to assume those duties after three days on the ground, and the fire direction center had assumed their duties, two days prior.

All these 'red leg's' fully understand their mission and stand ready, day or night, to send steel downrange to protect their brethren, for when others run to the bunker, they run to their guns. Though their mission is far from the safety they all seek, it is a necessary danger they readily face to accomplish their mission and ensure a peaceful transition of security responsibilities to the Afghan National Security Forces.

Page last updated Tue February 26th, 2013 at 16:32