OROGRANDE, New Mexico-Artillerymen assigned to 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division conducted Table XVIII qualifications on M109A6 Paladin cannon artillery system vehicles during Iron Focus 17, May 10 at the training site here.
Iron Focus 17 is a brigade level training exercise that allows commanders to exercise their systems and processes, as well as battle tracking and forward support distribution. It also allows them to gauge the status of their readiness and validate processes to ensure they are prepared for worldwide operations.
The Artillerymen participated in the exercise by certifying their weapon systems at Table XVIII using 18 Paladin fighting vehicles to provide suppressive fire, which would allow maneuver elements to move forward to their objective during a simulated enemy attack.
"The Paladin is great because it is a self-propelled howitzer and has the ability to quickly move and occupy a position," said Staff Sgt. Joshua Kirby, an artilleryman assigned to Battery C., 4-27 FA BN, 2nd BCT, 1st AD. "This training is important for us personally, it is a team effort to be able to get that repetition and getting the crew drills down gives us the ability to fire more quickly and accurately."
The "Iron" Brigade has recently returned to U.S. Forces Command operational status as the 1st Armored Division's second available armored brigade combat team capable of deploying worldwide as directed by the Army today. For the last five years 2nd BCT, 1st AD, has been the unit that performed the Army's Network Integration Evaluation mission for the Fort Bliss based Brigade Modernization Command (BMC).
"I think this is a great exercise, considering these Soldiers have been a TRADOC unit for the last four or five years," said Command Sgt. Major Shurn Smith, senior enlisted advisor for 4-27 FA BN. "These Soldiers are finally going to get an opportunity do what they joined the Army to do, which is to shoot, move and communicate as artillerymen."
1st AD is at the tip of the spear when it comes to protecting America's interest. Each of the Division's brigades has subordinate units currently deployed, recently deployed or about to deploy in defense of our nation and vital strategic interest. Fort Bliss also provides a world class training area here locally and the ability to shoot artillery rounds in its backyard, providing units unrestricted use of ammunition-- anything from pistols to missiles.
"It makes me feel good to know that we're back in the fight," said Smith. "I think no matter where we go, or what we're called to do, we will continue to strive, lean forward and be competitive with the rest of our counterparts."