By Staff Sgt. Carlos Davis (2d ID)January 26, 2014
As missions evolve, so does training. Soldiers are required to hone their skills by recertifying in their trainings to maintain mission readiness.
Soldiers from Battery A, 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, conducted section certification training Jan. 6 -- 10 on Camp Casey, which qualifies them to participate in upcoming live-fire exercises.
"We are starting the table five certification for multiple launch rocket system crewmembers," said Sgt. 1st Class Chad Burns, from Salem, Neb., a platoon sergeant. "This training allows us to see what areas we need to focus on as we create our training plans in order to be an effective firing battery."
The training allows the unit to gauge their crews as a team. They hone their firing skills in order to be able to accomplish its mission.
"If we are not cleared to fire by the master gunner, then we cannot do our job. If we cannot do our job, then we cannot help with the defense on the Korean Peninsula," said Burns. "We take this training serious, and we train hard so that we will be able to accomplish the unit mission."
The 1st Bn., 38th FA Regt. trains to be able to alert, deploy, and provide artillery fires to support Combined Forces Command and destroy long range artillery.
Section certification training challenges the crews to react correctly to possible malfunctions pertaining to the M270A1 Multiple Launch Rocket System and how to correctly process different fire missions.
"We are going to be doing crew drills, loading and unloading rocket pods and how to react to a hang fire or pod fire," said Staff Sgt. Nathan Mace, from Lovespark, Ill., a section chief.
Crews must be trained and ready to react to dangerous situations before they work with live ammunition.
According to Mace, a hang fire is when there is a delay in the functioning of a weapon. It can be dangerious and must be handled as a worst case scenario. A pod fire is when the MLRS ammunition pod catches fire from the rocket exhaust, which can cause the whole system to burn down.
Mace also said the crew conducts an after action review at the end of each task to see what they could do better.
Being a crew chief, Mace approached the training with goals he wanted his Soldiers to focus on.
"The hardest and the most proficient thing I want my guys to do is the unloading and reloading of the ammunition pods," said Mace. "It has the most steps to it, and since we started doing reloads we've gone from about eight minutes to six minutes. Making sure we do the reloads, upload and download right and doing the fire missions correctly allows us to fight tonight."
Each section is required to complete this training 30 days prior to going to the field. However, this isn't the only training that keeps crewmembers ready to fight tonight.
"If we do not have anything scheduled for training my NCOs (noncommissioned officers) like to keep us busy by having us doing warrior tasks and drills as a crew," said Spc. Matthew Burian, from Wayne, N.J., also a multiple launch rocket systems crewmember.
"That way, we have constant repetition with our skills which can be anything from driving the MLRS to weapons," he added. "This training allows us to be proficient with any task our command wants us to accomplish."
The battery certified more than six multiple launch rocket systems crews during the week-long training on Camp Casey.