FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Eleven rockets raced quickly across the landscape of Fort Carson's Training Area 11 in a rapid aerial infiltration exercise highlighting the capability of the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) March 6, 2015.
The 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery Regiment, 214th Fires Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Soldiers from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, conducted the exercise as part of testing the brigade's ability to execute a rapid deployment capability and improve combat readiness.
"This was a great chance for us to conduct joint training with the 58th Airlift Squadron (97th Operations Group, 97th Air Mobility Wing) from Altus (Air Force Base, Oklahoma)," said Lt. Col. J.P. Maddaloni, 1st Bn., 14th FA Reg., commander. "We could be in any country, deployed forward at an air base."
The battalion flew from Oklahoma to Peterson Air Force Base, then convoyed to Fort Carson where it exercised firing on a simulated enemy air base to deny the enemy the ability to employ aircraft and neutralize air defense assets.
"The HIMARS is the best asset that field artillery has," said Maddaloni. "It is a highly mobile, all terrain system with 24/7 capability."
The battalion fired reduced range practice rockets with a range of 15 kilometers and can replicate any rocket the system can fire, said Maddaloni.
According to Lt. Col. Wade Herman, 4th Inf. Div. G3 deputy fire support coordinator, the planning for the exercise took about four months and is the first known time the fires brigade has conducted this type of training at Fort Carson.
"I couldn't be more proud of these Soldiers," said Maddaloni. "We recently returned from a deployment to United Arab Emirates and this is a great chance to get back in the saddle."
The lieutenant colonel said the unit conducted multiple iterations of the exercise at Fort Sill and Altus in preparation for the deployment to Fort Carson.
"I'm very impressed with the support from Joint Task Force Carson and 4th Infantry Division throughout the exercise," said Maddaloni. "They laid out the red carpet and it is much appreciated."