As temperatures start to drop and people start to plan for their holiday season, Soldiers with 1st Cavalry Division (CD) and Soldiers assigned to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Field Artillery Regiment (FAR), from Fort Sill, Okla., conducted a field training exercise on Fort Hood, Oct. 15-27.
Soldiers with 2-2 FAR were given the opportunity to train for approximately two weeks with 1 CD during their emergency deployment readiness exercise.
The 2-2 FAR is a part of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Their mission is to train others, so they are not able to go to the field for extended periods of time. The unit routinely travels to the field to train for the day, and then return to Garrison once their mission is complete.
"For the Soldiers, it's all about building confidence," said Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew Castaldo, the Command Sgt. Maj. of 2-2 FAR. "This gets them out of Fort Sill and lets them see how [different parts] of the Army operate."
Through the duration of this 12 day-long exercise, 2-2 FAR Soldiers did nothing but eat, sleep, and train non-stop.
"Fort Hood is a premier training location," said Lt. Col. Lazander Tomlinson, the Battalion Commander of 2-2 FAR. "Having the opportunity to train with serious combat power and 1 CD is a big win for the home team."
The culminating event of the exercise was a live-fire operation that gave the Soldiers the chance to fire a M116 Howitzer. The 2-2 FAR is familiar with the Howitzer, but many Soldiers had never had the opportunity to fire the weapon.
During the exercise, a CH-47 Chinook would transport a Howitzer to different training locations on Fort Hood. After several days of preparation, the Howitzer was in place and Soldiers were able to engage in a live-fire exercise.
"[2-2 FAR] Soldiers need to see what happens in an organization that is getting ready to deploy," said Castaldo. "There was an opportunity to come down here and see a different side of things, and we took it."
"A lot of my guys are brand new to the Army," said Capt. Daniel Gordon, the 2-2 FAR, A Battery Commander. "Ideally, we want them to continue their careers in the Army, and be as tactical as possible."
After the live-fire was completed, Soldiers were immediately responsible for securing the Howitzer to a Chinook. The helicopter then transported it to another location within the training area, allowing the pilots to get flight hours and gain valuable training in the process.
With augmentation from 2-2 FA, the Soldiers of 1 CD honed their tactical and technical skills over the course of two weeks, in order to stay sharp and remain prepared to answer the Army's call to arms.