By Sgt. Bob YarbroughMay 14, 2014
STATESBORO, Ga. - Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 76th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, attended Statesboro High School's science, technology, engineering, and mathematics day, or STEM day, in Statesboro, May 9, to explain artillery-related mathematics to students.
The soldiers were among representatives from other businesses and organizations ranging from energy companies, college science departments, aeronautical engineering companies, representatives from state agencies and entrepreneurs.
Richard McCombs, a science teacher at Statesboro High School, explained how the application of physics and math in field artillery made the Patriot soldiers relevant at STEM day.
"In high school, I didn't really understand what I was learning," said the former artilleryman. "Then I got commissioned and became an artillery officer, and I was shooting big bullets 10 miles down the road where you've got to figure in things like the earth's rotation, powder temperatures, different guns shooting different speeds, and you have to apply all these math skills all at once, really fast."
The Statesboro High School STEM day was not the first time the students met with Patriot soldiers. The STEM class took a field trip to Fort Stewart April 23, where they toured the base and were able to see the field artillerymen load and fire blank training ammunition from the M119 howitzer. The students were able to see a practical application of math and physics as the Patriot soldiers demonstrated the entire process, from the forward observers calling for fire to the artillerymen using the howitzers to simulate an artillery strike.
First Lt. Cody Newsome, the fire direction officer for 1-76th FA, and a native of Greer, South Carolina, was present at both events and explained why it was important for the students to see the live demonstration.
"We illustrated how mathematics, science and technology are instrumental in delivering indirect fire," he said.
The students previously experimented with rockets made of water bottles, using similar calculations to estimate distance.
"There is a correlation, mathematically," said Newsome. "The theory of what we do is ballistics, it's physics, and then we apply it to firing cannons."
During both STEM events, the students also saw how radars, communication, and meteorological and survey data are applied to field artillery operations, and they now have a view of how science, technology, engineering and math are applied as they pursue their future career paths.