By Spc. Jose RiveraSeptember 14, 2016
FORT STEWART, Ga. -- Soldiers of 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division proved their ability to train and employ the M120 mortar weapon system in support of 3rd Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade's combined readiness live-fire exercise Sept. 9 at Fort Stewart, Ga.
"We are participating in what we call Provider Leaders Stakes," said Capt. Nicholos Pittmon, company commander of 226th Composite Supply Company, 3rd ID SB. "It is a program our brigade commander, Col. [Jered] Helwig, initiated to get the company command teams, battalion command teams, out to do some of the maneuver functions."
Pittmon added, "It gives us a greater appreciation for what the warfighter does, whether that is the infantryman, scout, tanker or the mortarman. It gives us a good baseline to understand how important our role is to supporting the warfighter."
The 3-7th Inf. mortar platoon taught 3rd ID SB Soldiers how to call for fire and how to adjust rounds on the battlefield using mortars.
"The crew was great. The training has been top notch," said Pittmon. "They taught us how to hang rounds and did a very good job explaining exactly what the rounds do."
Sgt. Tony Jarvis, indirect fire infantryman and squad leader with 3-7th Inf., explained the primary mission of the M120 is to destroy the enemy and their equipment, and deny terrain.
The training doubled as readiness maintenance for each crew within their platoon, making sure each Soldier understood their position.
"It gives us good practice in our actual profession and it helps to give a new skillset to a different military occupation specialty that would not normally use mortars," said Jarvis.
A mortarman is responsible for providing assistance on the battlefield to anyone that may be in need of fire support.
"We provide the [infantrymen] with the support they would need to finish their mission," said Spc. Ross Richard, indirect fire infantryman with 3-7th Inf. "If troops are in contact we can also provide them with concealment with a smoke round so they can break contact if they need to."
Cross-training builds readiness and prepares Soldiers for future training and missions.
"We are a critical asset in the actual fight. We are the closest in terms of support that the [infantrymen] have," said Jarvis. "We are the fastest and the most responsive to them, so we have to be just as ready as they are."
Jarvis closed with his affinity for his occupational specialty: "It is THE best job in the Army."