GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Soldiers from the Field Artillery Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment are on the forefront of a newly developed weapon system. Directed Energy, or practical laser weapons -- the first of their kind -- are now being used by Soldiers from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment.

The 5kw laser project is part of the Mobile Experimental High Energy Laser. It represents an advance over a previous laser tested in 2016, and will lead into more powerful, longer ranging anti-drone, anti-missile laser systems. The Stryker-mounted MEHEL has proven to be extremely efficient in eliminating enemy drone targets, and its use in Europe will help the U.S. Army to assess emerging concepts, technologies and interoperability.

The "Artillery Hell" Soldiers had the opportunity to host Maj. Gen. Wilson A. Shoffner, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general, as well as Command Sgt. Maj. Carl Fagan, the senior enlisted advisor for Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill, during a site visit at the Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, March 6, 2018.

During this visit, Shoffner experienced firsthand the troops training with the new weapon system. Artillery Soldiers provided him and Fagan with a walk-through of all of the components of the weapon, showcasing their knowledge and their ability to operate the new weapon.

"Having the opportunity as a brand new second lieutenant at my first duty station to present a cutting-edge concept to a high-ranking officer of such caliber was an experience I will never forget," said 2nd Lt. Arturo Pacheco, officer in charge for the Directed Energy team, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, Field Artillery Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment.

Artillery Soldiers were eager to demonstrate all they have learned, and couldn't contain their enthusiasm regarding the unique opportunity and extreme potential of the new weapon system.

"It was a memorable moment in my Army career to have the chance to brief a major general on the concepts and skills that myself and the team have been diligently working to learn over the past few days," said Spc. Zachary Ringling, driver for the Directed Energy Stryker, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, Field Artillery Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment.