Soldiers fire a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System during 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery's, training exercise at Fort Sill, Okla., to certify the battalion is fully prepared to deploy.

FORT SILL, Okla. (March 18, 2012) -- Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery, conducted a culminating training exercise, from Feb. 28 to March 4, at Fort Sill, to certify the unit's readiness for its upcoming deployment to Central Command Area of Operations.

Soldiers sacrificed time to conduct training, prior to block leave in mid-March, in order to certify as a battalion simulating conditions they may have to react to.

The exercise included Table VI Certification, forward operating base operations and reload operations in the Quanah Training Area. Multiple training events during the culminating training exercise, or CTE, allowed integration of members from across the 214th Fires Brigade, into the 1-14th FA.

The "Leader Brigade" provided resources and personnel to augment 1-14th FA, with many Soldiers volunteering from sister battalions, 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery, and 168th Brigade Support Battalion, to train and deploy with the battalion.

"I really wanted to deploy again, I liked being down range," explained Spc. Noah Liebel, 2-4th FA.,

"I've been in 2-4th FA and the M270 [Multiple Launch Rocket System] for a while and I wanted a change of pace that I thought a [High Mobility Artillery Rocket System] battalion could give," said Sgt. Brandon Neitzel, also from 2-4 FA.

A Battery, 2nd Battalion, 5th Field Artillery will conduct a security force mission and will be with 1-14th FA during the deployment.

The unit also had an assumption of command immediately prior to the exercise. Lt. Col. Jon-Paul Maddaloni assumed command of the 1-14th FA a day prior to the first unit rolling out to the field.

"The CTE is the culminating event for the battalion in its preparations for deployment in the spring of this year. We will certify launcher sections, train air load preparations for [High Mobility Artillery Rocket System] raid, and integrate our security force battery into operations. Overall goals are to ensure we meet all of our deployment tasks in order to best prepare the Soldiers of 1-14th for the deployment and to build the team that will serve the nation in support of theater specific contingency operations," said Maddaloni.

Movement to and from the different training sites was dual-purpose, focused on the training and integration of Soldiers from the A/2-5th FA security force, 168th BSB, and 2-4th FA, with the existing tactics, techniques and procedures of the 1-14th FA. It was also meant to simulate convoys traveling across the desert from location to location in the CENTCOM Area of Operation.

High mobility is crucial to the 1-14th FA, which is a M142 [High Mobility Artillery Rocket System], or HIMARS, battalion. To support the mobility training, the unit rehearsed Air/Land Operations, simulating a load-up onto a C-130 airplane.

"Air/ Land Operations are a crucial part of what HIMARS is capable of doing and this was really good training to ensure the successful completion of any mission we may be called on to do," said Staff Sgt. Geoffery Landon.

This high-mobility technique is unique to HIMARS, making it a valuable combat tool on the battlefield. Both firing batteries received instruction from civilians and military trainers on how to prepare a launcher for transport by air.

The 1-14th FA was able to successfully execute their CTE that evaluated the battalion on many of the crucial tasks that are critical to a successful HIMARS mission. Department of Logistics and Range Operations provided key resources and support to the 1-14th FA CTE. The 1-14th FA was able to prove that it could successfully conduct forward operating base operations and move securely from location to location from air or land and successfully provide precision fires.

Page last updated Tue March 19th, 2013 at 07:22